I'm saddened many people debating WE and Trudeau's position seem not to understand what a "conflict of interest" is, and how someone might innocently, through bad judgment, make a mistake with one. I include many Liberals not getting it, btw. Here's a quick reminder. #cdnpoli 1/8
Any time someone has a personal engagement with an issue or organization that even could influence their judgment, it's a conflict. It should be identified, and that person's judgment ideally removed from decision-making on the issue. Simply as a precaution. #cdnpoli 2/8
Trudeau's family history with WE raises the possibility his judgment might be swayed. That possibility alone is a conflict. That it wasn't properly identified and declared is an error of judgment. Pretending otherwise is wrong. And that's where this all started. #cdnpoli 3/8
Rob Ford's error was, if anything, even more obvious. He voted on a motion to rescind an order that he pay the City of Toronto back $3,150. Whether he should really pay the money or not isn't the conflict. The fact that he has a personal interest in the outcome is. #cdnpoli 5/8
Whatever I thought of Rob Ford as mayor, it was never reasonable to imagine he intentionally misused his office to spare himself a $3,150 fine. It was stupid that he voted on the issue - not scandalous. And like it or not, Trudeau is in the same situation now. #cdnpoli 6/8
Partisanship aside, there's a teaching moment here. Conflict of interest is an important topic, not just for public officials but for almost anyone in a position of authority. It's easy to miss how your own interests can get tied up in a decision you need to make. #cdnpoli 7/8
The remaining lesson is the one we're all seeing now. Once a mistake has been made, innocent or not, it's damn near impossible to explain away or satisfy anyone after the fact. So stay alert, err towards caution, and try to avoid the mistake in the first place. #cdnpoli 8/8
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