A senator broke his code of ethics during the freedom convoy

The Senate Ethics Officer has concluded that Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald violated the code of conduct during the “ freedom convoy in February 2022.

The Nova Scotia senator was filmed lambasting residents of downtown Ottawa who complained about the protests, saying they were overpaid and underemployed. In the recording, Mr. MacDonald is heard asking that he not be recorded, and the videographer falsely claims that he is not.

In the video, MacDonald describes residents as overpaid and underemployed.

“It’s everybody’s fucking city, it’s the capital of the country. It’s not your fucking town just because you have a six-figure salary and you work 20 hours a week. You haven’t worked a full week in two years. It’s sickening,” the senator says in the recording.

In the video, Mr MacDonald calls his wife “Karen” – a derogatory term for a narcissistic woman – for standing up to the protests. Although police have ordered protesters to clean up the scene, Mr MacDonald adds that he “doesn’t want them to leave”.

Mr. MacDonald apologized for his remarks in the Senate last February. He told the media and Senate Ethics Counselor Pierre Legault that he had been drinking that night.

The Senate Ethics Counselor believes Mr. MacDonald violated six sections of the code that governs the work of senators, two of which relate to his conduct and four others for lack of compliance during the investigation itself.

“Senators are meant to represent Canadians, not denigrate, mock and belittle them, while encouraging illegal activity at a time when a state of emergency has been declared,” Mr. Legault wrote in a published report. Tuesday.

He added that the senator’s request not to be filmed showed “an intentional failure to exercise dignified reserve and restraint.”

Mr. Legault ruled that Mr. MacDonald’s comments violated the rules that senators “respect the highest standards of dignity inherent in the office of senator” and “refrain from acting in a manner that could harm the office of senator or to the institution of the Senate”.


The investigation began when nine other senators filed complaints, and the ethics officer determined that the Red Chamber must formally censure members whose conduct damages the reputation of the Senate.

Mr. Legault asked Mr. MacDonald to take three actions, two of which he did: offer an apology to the House which would also be posted on social media.

The third recommendation was to subject Mr. MacDonald to a vote of no confidence by his colleagues, which is a formal expression of the Senate’s disapproval of something.

According to the report, Mr. MacDonald rejected this measure. The report says “there was nothing significant in” [sa] conduct” because he did not break any law, act aggressively, or misuse Senate resources. “It’s certainly not an ethical issue,” MacDonald reportedly wrote.

His lawyer claimed that the Senate counselor’s request violated the special rights held by senators and MPs, known as parliamentary privilege, as well as the independence of the Senate. In a letter to the ethics office, the attorney called it “an insidiously coercive example of forced speech.”

Mr. Legault, Mr. MacDonald and his attorney exchanged a series of letters for more than a year, with the senator refusing to answer a list of detailed questions he deemed irrelevant and topics of “partisan debate” that raised “highly controversial public policy issues”.

The senator was particularly upset that the adviser asked him who he had had dinner with before making his comments. Legault said that information could have been relevant to determining who witnessed the exchange with the person who videotaped the remarks, and whether the senator was performing parliamentary duties at the time.

Mr. MacDonald eventually sought to have a Senate committee look into the matter, which the office said would undermine the credibility of the investigative process, which is supposed to remain confidential and free from political interference.

“His lack of cooperation was a flagrant disregard for the process outlined in the code and which was duly adopted by the Senate,” Mr. Legault wrote.

He added that Mr MacDonald should have shown “real remorse” for his comments by telling his peers they could proceed with a vote of no confidence.

Mr. Legault concluded that Mr. MacDonald had again breached the code’s requirement to act “with dignity, honor and integrity” in the performance of his parliamentary duties, due to his repeated refusal to comply with the investigation. For this reason, he is now recommending “penalty sanctions by the Senate” against Mr. MacDonald.

“His conduct in this regard was so egregious that no action would be taken to remedy the harm his actions have caused to the office of a senator and to the institution of the Senate,” the ethics counselor wrote.

The Senate Conflict of Interest Committee will receive the report and can then schedule hearings on the matter, although the Senate will adjourn until September 19.

In an email sent Tuesday, MacDonald said he would discuss the report with that committee. “Out of respect for the process, I will not comment further at this time,” he said.

Mr. MacDonald has been a senator since his appointment on the advice of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.

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