(Ottawa) Conservative MPs on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the behavior of their former boss and current colleague Andrew Scheer, who allegedly twice hired family members into his team.
Among the voices that spoke, Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs said Canadians should expect elected officials to avoid making such decisions.
MPs took the opportunity to voice their frustrations at the weekly Conservative caucus meeting since their leader Erin O’Toole did.
The leader also took the opportunity to deliver a clear message to his team: his party must observe high standards and applying the rules to the letter is not enough.
Convention requires that Members not go into detail about what is being said in caucus discussions. However, multiple sources confirmed to The Canadian Press, on condition of anonymity, that Erin O’Toole’s post fell a bit flat. MPs were taken by surprise when they heard the leader’s public reaction to the Andrew Scheer case.
Several MPs argue that, since Andrew Scheer played by the rules when he hired his sister in the past, and his sister-in-law more recently, Erin O’Toole should have been more supportive.
Andrew Scheer’s sister was fired when a rule banning the hiring of siblings was passed in 2012. Andrew Scheer’s sister-in-law, who worked at his constituency office, was fired this week.
These two revelations were made by the media this week and Erin O’Toole reacted on Tuesday by saying she wanted to discuss them with Andrew Scheer and later with his deputies.
“He respected the rules and was transparent in all respect for the rules, but I will share my expectations, which go further,” replied Mr. O’Toole.
Neither Erin O’Toole nor Andrew Scheer wanted to comment further on the matter on Wednesday.
When showing up for the weekly caucus meeting, Conservative MPs argued the rules needed to be broadened to prohibit hiring in-laws, but also acknowledged that MPs needed to exercise more judgment.
The Board of Internal Economy, made up of members from all parties and responsible for overseeing the rules governing members of Parliament, must examine Thursday who may or may not be hired by elected officials.
This discussion is also made necessary by the case of Yasmin Ratansi. The MP for Don Valley East, Ont., Left the Liberal caucus to sit as an independent after it was revealed that she had hired her sister as a worker in her constituency office.
The Conservatives then called on the Board of Internal Economy to apply remedial measures and order Mr.me Ratansi to reimburse the salary paid to his sister.
While there are rules to prevent Members of Parliament from hiring their families, it is not uncommon for them to find work on Parliament Hill.
Until Erin O’Toole became leader of the Conservative Party, his wife Rebecca worked for MP Ron Liepert.
She had previously had a long career in the private sector, most notably as assistant to the president of the Toronto Argonauts football team.
The Conservatives also claim that it is unfair to compare the case of Andrew Scheer to that of Yasmin Ratansi since the former had shared his approach with the Ethics Commissioner.
As Speaker of the House, when the rules were changed to prevent siblings from being hired, Andrew Scheer was involved in the decision. Her sister then quit her job in her constituency office.
Her sister-in-law, Erica Honoway, had worked in her constituency office accounting since 2007 until she was fired this week.