02.21.2013 08:24 AM

The case against Cash

NDP MP Andrew Cash is in an egregious conflict of interest.  There can be no doubt or debate about that:

On Sept. 26, 2011, Cash provided a commitment in writing to the House of Commons ethics commissioner and to the clerk of the House of Commons that he “shall not participate in debate or voting at the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage on matters to do with the CBC in which I have a private interest.”

And yet, within a month of making that commitment – and on several occasions since – Cash has not only debated CBC matters, he participated in votes on CBC’s funding.

It doesn’t matter how he voted.  He voted.  That is not just a perceived conflict of interest, it is a real conflict of interest.

In the past, it is noteworthy that Cash has attacked Rob Ford for “dirty tricks” – which raises an interesting irony.  In Ford’s well-documented case of conflict of interest, the amounts of money in issue were much smaller.  And, in Ford’s case, the money did not go straight into Ford’s personal bank account.  In Cash’s case, tens of thousands did.

When you do a Google scan of Cash’s piety in similar cases – including during the period where he was receiving CBC money while voting on the CBC – his hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.  Take a look at this instance of Conservative conflict of interest, which Cash rightly derided as the Conservatives’ “new accountability standard.”

On the face of it, he has violated sections 8, 11, 13, 14, 16 of the Code and possibly more.  The Act applies, as well. He must be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner and he must be sanctioned.

If he and his party were in way consistent, of course, Cash would be resigning his seat.  That is what they would be demanding if a Conservative or Liberal had committed an offence as serious as this one.

Will he resign?  Of course not.  Will he do the “right thing”?  Of course not.

And on and on the bullshit goes. Of course.

42 Comments


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Jeff says:

    I live in his riding, but I did not vote for him. I like him, but I am a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal. I promise. I am also a former artist. This is just royalties. He would be paid these royalties whether CBC was a national network or not. Dragon’s Den would make it on any network (see “Shark Tank”). It’s union rates, and unless he owns his own publishing (I don’t know if he does), then this it totally at arm’s length. He is not being paid, say, as a lobbyist, nor is he being paid a salary. If Radio 2 played him, he would get royalities there, too. His quote about lawyers on legal matters and doctors on medical matters is an interesting point. I am not legally trained, but is this not a little different? (Herein I have expressed my opinion, but my question is really a question.)


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      Jeff says:

      The “is this not a little different?” was related to the broader question of “is this really a conflict of interest?”. Sorry about not being clear.


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      Ted B says:

      Quote: “On Sept. 26, 2011, Cash provided a commitment in writing to the House of Commons ethics commissioner and to the clerk of the House of Commons that he “shall not participate in debate or voting at the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage on matters to do with the CBC in which I have a private interest.”” Unquote.

      You’re right. It is different from Ford. Ford never even read the rules he broke; Cash explicitly promised to follow the rules he broke.


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        Billy Boy says:

        At the moment, however, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson appears to be unconvinced that Cash’s conduct on the Heritage committee constitutes a breach of his agreement not to “participate in debate or voting … on matters dealing with the CBC.”


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      catherine says:

      Jeff, like Cash, you seem to be arguing that you don’t agree with the Ethics Commissioner. But, alas, neither you nor Cash hold that position; Mary Dawson holds it. If one honestly thinks the Ethics Commissioner is wrong, then one needs to challenge her. Not just ignore her. I’m sure many people with a conflict of interest would like to think the Ethics Commissioner is wrong.

      And, I do think if the CBC suddenly cut Dragon’s Den due to budget problems, then Cash’s income would decrease. His income may increase sometime in the future again, but it would definitely decrease with the cut. That is a conflict of interest and I’m surprised you cannot see it. Fortunately, Mary Dawson can.


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        Jeff says:

        Hi Catherine. Of course is income would decrease, because he would get no royalties from the program. But such is the nature of royalties; one has no control over them. When one publishes music, one’s music is “out there”, and if the copyright holder (the publisher) okays its use, the writer and peformers gets royalties at a standard rate. Filthy rich network or tiny little outpost of a station, the artist gets paid.

        Yes, I suppose that I am disagreeing with the Ethics Commissioner, who I believe does not understand how royalties work and how the writer gets paid by rich and poor TV station alike by law. And yes, Cash promised not to participate in the debate, and he did. So, I acknowledge your point as far as that goes.


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          Dennis Riggs says:

          Dragons Den is a money-maker. It is hard to picture the budget cut that would cause a cash cow to be put to pasture.

          http://blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/politics/background-on-cash-and-his-cbc-cash/

          The Ethics Commissioner, knowing of this matter, specified Cash could debate and vote on C-461.

          It wasn’t Cash who said he wouldn’t participate in the debate, he specifically promised not to debate or vote if it were in violation of sections 12 & 13 of the COIMP. He is totally allowed to speak on the matter in general and to vote.

          It was an HoC clerk, who accidentally omitted that portion of his sentence in reply to Cash, that thereby in error specified that he agreed not to debate or vote at all, which is not what he agreed to or what he was required to do by the Commissioner.

          I’d bet the Ethics Commissioner has encountered this kind of thing before, given the answer they gave Cash.


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      Dennis Riggs says:

      http://blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/politics/background-on-cash-and-his-cbc-cash/

      Read this, Akin, if not his editors at The Sun, has good information. It clearly shows the conflict to be the result of a transposed date and an unintentional edit on behalf of a clerk of the HoC.

      Akin is pretty top notch for posting this backgrounder in such detail.

      I wouldn’t fault him for the story presuming to demand that there is a conflict, he does have editors, and it is The Sun, just like The Star is The Star.

      It also shows that Cash did his due diligence, and that any confusion is not above scrutiny. Such scrutiny is necessary if Canadians are ever to have confidence in the HoC again or at all.


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    Jerk616 says:

    Im having trouble seeing how this is much different than Trudeaus ‘speaking enagagements’ (wherein he takes loads and wads of cash, from strapped school boards)? Oh yeah, it’s different because Cash isn’t the Liberal messiah.


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      Jeff says:

      There is no conflict of interest, at all, in Trudeau’s case. I am not sure that Cash’s is really a conflict, as I don’t think the funding issue has anything at all to do with whether he gets paid or not, but your Trudeau comparison is not apt.


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      Tiger says:

      The difference is that Trudeau cleared it with the Ethics Commissioner, and was told he could go ahead.

      All the difference in the world.


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        Billy Boy says:

        “At the moment, however, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson appears to be unconvinced that Cash’s conduct on the Heritage committee constitutes a breach of his agreement not to “participate in debate or voting … on matters dealing with the CBC.”


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      Jeff says:

      I cannot believe that I am defending Stephen Harper here, but Harper writing a book as PM is in no way a conflict of interest. This is not about income on the side. I’m sure they all have one or more of RSPs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rental properties, et cetera, et cetera. The issue is whether one is using one’s role in government to enhance or to be seen to enhance one’s income. (And my point this whole time is that, in real terms, the royalties thing is enough at arm’s length that it should not be a problem. And the Ethics Commissioner apparently disagrees with me, so my argument and a toonie will get you a cup of coffee in the nice new cafe around the corner.)


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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      All proceeds of Prime Minister Harper`s book are being donated to charities.


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        smelter rat says:

        So he says. The Fraser Institute is a charity, if I recall correctly.


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    catherine says:

    Jerk616, Trudeau does not affect the funding of any given school board. And even if he did, he has no way of knowing if he will be invited to speak for a fee at that school board, or any school board, in the future or not. So he is not affecting his own income by participating in discussion and votes in Parliament.

    By contrast, Cash is paid by CBC, which receives federal funding, and if their funding was such that they had to cancel Dragon’s Den, then Cash’s income would decrease. That is the direct relation that the Ethics Commissioner was concerned about and why she ruled there were government matters he could not participate in.


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    Dave Abbey says:

    Optics is everything


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    Eric Matheson says:

    Yeah, I live in his riding as well. It is as if any time pragmatism or thought is required that may run contrary to the NDP playbook (even in a case like this) Cash is out to lunch. It was a nice experiment, but this is just what happens when there is a huge number of truly unqualifed folks working for and elected as member of the NDP and not enough smart folks (They do have lots but…) to aid in guiding them on the basics.


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      Eric Matheson says:

      by ‘A case like this’ I mean I love the CBC, but Cash clearly has a conflict.


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    doris says:

    Get real, this is a plot to make a stink about nothing. Cash is sitting in perceived Lib territory so the libs squeal whenever they can. If he can prove that he was funded by the direct action of the CBC making special dispensation for him he is in trouble otherwise he is just in a ‘class of people’ and not a specific person, details in the CoI law check it out. Just like councillors voting to put up[ their taxes with everybody else. Mountain out of Molehill by a Lib cheerleader waiting to pounce on his mistakes.


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      smelter rat says:

      Exactly.


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      sharonapple says:

      When Cash says he “shall not participate in debate or voting at the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage on matters to do with the CBC in which [he has] a private interest.” You’d think it would mean not debating or voting.

      You know, I’m starting to think that the best defense when caught doing something is to deny or to deflect on some random point of martyrdom (a vast Liberal conspiracy… of course, from the Liberal friendly Sun). I know there are arguments against the whole situation, but don’t you for a second wish better from your party?


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    Glen says:

    Are you suggesting he took what didn’t belong?


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    GFMD says:

    I do not share the opinion that the conflict, if it exists, is clear and obvious. It would also seem the commissioner would have known about the royalties from Cash’s original inquiry, and at the most damning re-iterated the guidelines rather than offer an actual opinion.


  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Ted B says:

    I am pretty stunned that anyone who would suggest that Rob Ford, an elected mayor, did something so eggregious that he should be removed from office, but what Cash did – consciously and explicitly acknowledging there was a conflict and promising not participate in debates and votes and doing so anyway – is just a stink about nothing.

    It’s not just a conflict when “the other side” does it.


  10. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Matt says:

    …looks like the Rob Ford school of dodgy ethics to me


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    Bill Mathis says:

    Sad but totally unsurprising. As a long time BC resident, I recall Bingogate (using ‘charity’ bingo to fund the Party), the FastCat Ferry fiasco, Glen Clark casino scandal, Svend Robinson burning a 40k diamond ring, Libby Davies George Galloway style diatribes, and most recently, when the BC Liberals were polled at a staggering low of 9% and a massive NDP majority seemed certain, a vicious cabal led by Jenny Kwan came close to destroying the party. With progressive friends like these, who needs Conservative enemies? Yes, the culture of the NDP is wild, volatile and often down and dirty in the extreme. Maybe “Mr Angry” as you call him can get em in line. Sad really cause “working families” could really use a break.


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      smelter rat says:

      Oh for Pete’s sake, quit running around like your hair is on fire. This is a non-story.


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        sharonapple says:

        Yeah, a politician says he’ll do one thing and he does the complete opposite. Happens all the time. Nothing to see here. Move along folks. 😉


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    dave says:

    Sure seem to be a lot of dots to connect to to see a blatant conflict of interest here. Guy writes some music, publisher handles it, CBC show pays to use it,…..composer is an MP, and debates and votes on something having to do with CBC. I guess i would like to know what the CBC discussion and vote were about. Worst I can see is that he ought to have checked it out with the Ethics Commish.
    I understand that so far, the Ethics Commish sees nothing here…sort of like seeing nothing with the Geurgis thing.

    It must be tough, we want MP’s who know something about the issues they have to address, but, somehow, not have any material connection to that issue.
    Hard to find such people!


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    Dennis Riggs says:

    Warren, really?

    You googled it? And drew a conclusion “On the face of it”?

    Christ in a sidecar, I don’t know if I can read you anymore.
    blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/politics/background-on-cash-and-his-cbc-cash/

    It’s pretty clear from what Akins editors would not go with that this is a miscommunication borne of a transposed date (September for October) and a very likely unintentional edit by O’Brien.

    I can’t believe you decided to go with a Google search and then ignore Akins blog in the results.

    Look, if this is partisan, I understand, but know this.

    Mario Silva was super-vulnerable and dis-liked more every day in his riding. EVERYONE knew it, but he and his chose to ignore it, claim to be in a Liberal Stronghold, rely on networks that didn’t involve voters, and then, inevitably, get their asses handed to them by a candidate that bothered to engage the constituents and their community.

    Cash is not part of the “Orange Crush” except by virtue of being NDP. He earned that seat. It was not a matter of chance or even half the good influence of Jack Layton.

    And if you can read that backgrounder and claim he violated those portions of code and act, then I commend your ability to suspend disbelief. This is quite literally a miscommunication, and that Hon. Member may indeed speak to the budget of the CBC generally without any COI. You know that, I think.


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      Mulletaur says:

      “Mario Silva was super-vulnerable and disliked more every day in his riding. EVERYONE knew it, but he and his chose to ignore it, claim to be in a Liberal Stronghold, rely on networks that didn’t involve voters, and then, inevitably, get their asses handed to them by a candidate that bothered to engage the constituents and their community.”

      That much of what you wrote is certainly true, Dennis. His story is a parable of what the Liberal Party of Canada became.


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    David Church says:

    Your whole premise is faulty: MPs cannot participate in debates or votes *specifically* related to matters in which they have a private interest.

    Cash asked questions relating to CBC funding in general so there is no *specific* private interest. If the debate was about cancelling Dragon’s Den, then he would have a conflict of interest.


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    Mulletaur says:

    http://andrewcash.ca/letter-from-conflict-of-interest-and-ethics-commissioner-mary-dawson-february-22-2013


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    Balconies says:

    @Mulletaur: we’ve moved on. Details like that are not important anymore. The point was just to generate a headline or two. You should move on too.

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