The recent resignation of the interim ethics commissioner in Canada has been causing a stir in political circles. Martine Richard, who had been working in the commissioner’s office as a lawyer since 2013, was appointed as the temporary head of the office last month. However, she resigned from her position just a day after a House of Commons committee agreed to investigate her appointment, citing concerns over potential conflicts of interest.

It turns out that Richard is the sister-in-law of Dominic LeBlanc, a Liberal cabinet minister who has a troubled past when it comes to ethics. In 2018, LeBlanc was found to have breached conflict-of-interest rules when he approved a lucrative fishing license for a family member while he was the fisheries minister. This led to calls for his resignation, and he was eventually cleared by the ethics commissioner of any wrongdoing.

Fast forward to 2022, and Richard’s appointment as the interim ethics commissioner raised eyebrows due to her connection to LeBlanc. The House of Commons committee on access to information, privacy, and ethics agreed to investigate the matter and invited Richard and LeBlanc to testify during the course of three hearings.

While the ethics commissioner’s office initially defended Richard’s appointment, the mounting pressure from the committee’s investigation and the potential for a conflict of interest ultimately led to her resignation. However, the office did announce that Richard would continue working as a lawyer in the office while they search for a new leader.

The incident has raised concerns about the transparency and accountability of the ethics commissioner’s office and the government’s overall commitment to ethical governance. Critics have pointed out that the commissioner’s office is supposed to be a non-partisan body that holds all public officials accountable to the highest ethical standards, regardless of their political affiliations or personal connections.

As the investigation into Richard’s appointment continues, the Canadian public will be closely watching to see whether the government takes concrete steps to ensure that the ethics commissioner’s office remains independent and impartial.