Politicians and public officials who break conflict of interest laws will face heftier fines and more public exposure as Canada's ethics watchdog takes a harder line on enforcement.
Nearly seven months into the job, Mario Dion says he wants to do more to hold public office-holders to account on behalf of the people who pay their salaries: Canadians.
Dion's office enforces conflict of interest and ethics rules for MPs, ministers, parliamentary secretaries, ministerial staff and most other Governor-in-Council appointees, working to ensure they don't use their positions to advance private financial interests.
Under his predecessor, Mary Dawson, the office took on several high-profile investigations, including probes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's island vacation with the Aga Khan and conflict of interest controversies linked to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and former Conservative cabinet minister Vic Toews. The office's findings and penalties frequently have been criticized as too soft.
Dion completed the Morneau investigation and tabled a report in June, finding that the minister did not violate conflict of interest rules when he introduced a pension bill in the House of Commons while he still owned shares in his family's pension services company.