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Public debate, in public (The Ottawa Citizen)

The Ottawa Citizen
April 19, 2002

Public debate, in public

Members of Parliament who aren't cabinet ministers should not be afraid to speak their minds on public issues, regardless of whether there's a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding under way. This is especially true when public property and funds are at stake.


There might be legitimate reasons for politicians to bow out of public debate on a development. If they live next door to the land in question, there might be a conflict of interest. Earlier this week, we faulted Senator Anne Cools for using her Senate office on this local issue, since the Moffatt lands are in her neighbourhood and she stands to gain or lose as a result, depending on the outcome. Nor does she have a voter mandate to represent the area. But this is not the case with Mr. Belanger.