Integrity Commissioner Lynn Morrison today released her report into a complaint regarding Brad Duguid, Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough Centre. The complaint was filed by Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, under section 30 of the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994.
The investigation examined two key issues:
- Did Mr. Duguid act contrary to Ontario parliamentary convention in mailing holiday cards without appropriate postage; and
- Did he act contrary to Ontario parliamentary convention because of a role a member of his ministers’ staff played in the constituency office?
The Commissioner found that Mr. Duguid did not contravene parliamentary convention in the mailing of the cards.
“The error related to a routine administrative task that is outside the type of tasks that a reasonable person could expect Mr. Duguid himself to have responsibility for supervising or directing,” the Commissioner wrote. “Mr. Duguid was not aware of – nor did he supervise, nor should he have been expected to supervise – the steps taken by staff in his constituency office to send correspondence. It is entirely distinct from a policy or procedural decision that an MPP might make relating to the management of his or her constituency office.”
The Commissioner further found that Mr. Duguid did contravene parliamentary convention in assigning a member of his ministers’ staff to oversee work in the constituency office.
“If Mr. Duguid was not a minister, he would have had no choice but to address the staff shortage in his constituency office directly by reallocating resources within his global budget,” the Commissioner wrote. “He would not have had the luxury of reallocating ministers’ staff resources to his constituency. Ministers have a staff to support their work in the ministry office, not to support or supplement their constituency offices when those offices are short-staffed.”
The Commissioner did not recommend a penalty, due to extenuating circumstances and evidence that there were plans to permanently transfer the staff person to the constituency office.
Parliamentary convention is a unique feature of the Act, finding its core principles in the preamble. The full report can be found at www.oico.on.ca under MPP Integrity.
An Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Integrity Commissioner is independent of government.
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Cathryn Motherwell, Director