Saturday, January 07, 2006

Takhar: I've been punished enough

Update below

From the National Post:

Embattled Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar said Friday he doesn't need to resign from cabinet because he and his family have been punished enough for his violation of the Integrity Act -- something that will blemish his political record forever.

"I think I have been punished enough; I have paid a big price for this," Takhar said in an interview with the Canadian Press late Friday afternoon.

"My family has paid a big price for this, and this is a matter of public record which will always stay -- it doesn't matter what I do."

So Mr. Takhar, exactly what is this big price you've paid? Some embarrassment because your violation of the Integrity Act was found out? Some short lived media coverage before going back to business as usual, ministerial position intact, and some obscure memory in the public record? How is a punishment without any tangible consequences a punishment? And what's with the cowardly tactic of hiding behind your family instead of taking responsibility as an individual?

Integrity Commissioner Coulter Osborne said this week that Takhar violated the act by hiring a trustee who was not independent to manage his personal business affairs, and then failing to notify the commissioner when that trustee was elected treasurer of his riding association.

"I was not aware I need to do that," Takhar said. "But I should have been aware."

Seriously, I need to put in an order for more bridges.

Yes, indeed, the Liberals think that the rules are for the other people. What a bunch of corrupt crooks.

More blogger comment here and here.

UPDATE: The Toronto Star has an article examining Takhar's pledge to resign that he made last year.
The Conservatives yesterday produced a June 21 article from a Mississauga Punjabi newspaper in which Takhar pledged to resign, adding fuel to opposition calls for his resignation.

The article said if the integrity commissioner found him in conflict of interest, Takhar would leave politics and repay all salary received from the government, according to a verified translation.

As a cabinet minister, Takhar, the Liberal MPP for Mississauga Centre, is paid $123,602 a year and has been on the job just over two years.

But Takhar is now saying he specifically said "conflict of interest" and emphasizes that Osborne didn't find he benefited financially or otherwise from continued ties with Chalmers Group of Companies, a group of five businesses, three transportation-related.

"I was not found to be in a conflict of interest ... it was never proven I have a conflict of interest," he said yesterday, but rather he failed to keep an arm's-length relationship with Chalmers Group, of which his wife is president.

Weasel words, you think? So does Conservative MPP Tim Hudak:
Conservative MPP Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln) accused Takhar of using "weasel words," adding it's obvious to most people that the Integrity Act's overarching target is conflict of interest.

"The whole act basically deals with conflict of interest between your personal interests and your responsibility as a minister of the crown," he said.

"Surely, appointing the treasurer of the riding association the CFO of a company, which includes trucking interests, is clearly a conflict of interest when the member is the minister of transportation," Hudak said.

But even though Takhar was found to have breached the act, Premier Dalton McGuinty has refused to oust him from cabinet. "If he doesn't care about the integrity of his cabinet ministers, we do and the taxpayers of Ontario do," Hudak told reporters at Queen's Park.

That remains to be demonstrated at the next election.

Previous articles about: Harinder Takhar
Harinder Takhar should resign: Toronto Star
Liberal corruption: not just for the Feds


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