Conservative Sen. Boisvenu told to apologize for banging staffer

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Tue, Aug 26, 2014

Harper-appointed Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, left, dated his assistant, Isabelle Lapointe, until the affair came to light in early in 2013. Photo: FACEBOOK

Harper-appointed Conservative Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, left, dated his assistant, Isabelle Lapointe, until the affair came to light in early in 2013. (Photo: FACEBOOK)

The Senate conflict of interest committee wants Harper-appointed Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu “to apologize to his Senate colleagues” for banging his former staffer, Isabelle Lapointe.

Boisvenu, 65, hired Lapointe, a former criminal analyst, as his executive assistant and communications person in 2010, just after being appointed to the Red Chamber. Soon after, he started an extra-marital affair with her. He renewed her yearly contract twice. The senator terminated Lapointe’s contract for good in early 2013, only after the office romance had hit the media spotlight.

Spoiler alert: This is the kind of story we’ve come to expect from the Conservatives, the democratically-challenged Senate and the power elites in Ottawa.

In June the Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette officially requested that Boisvenu be investigated for possible violation of the Senate’s conflict of interest rules.

The Senate Ethics Officer, Lyse Ricard, conducted an inquiry and found that Sen. Boisvenu had “acted improperly in a way to further a person’s private interests by twice renewing the employment contract of an employee with whom he was having or had had a personal relationship.” By so doing, she concluded, the senator had violated “Conflict of Interest Code for Senators.” But she let him off the hook. Apparently, there were mitigating circumstances.

At the end of July, Boisvenu appeared before the Conservative-dominated Senate conflict of interest committee. According to the committee’s report, issued Monday:

  • The Committee accepts the Senate Ethics Officer findings that Senator Boisvenu breached his obligations under sections 8 and 9 of the Code.
  • The Committee notes that no mitigating circumstances for the breach of the Code that resulted from the two renewals of the employment contract have been identified in the inquiry report.
  • It is the Committee’s views that the absence of actions to resolve or prevent a real or apparent conflict of interest from arising due to the changing nature of the relationship with his former employee must result in appropriate remedial measures.
  • All actions in a modern workplace that could reflect negatively on an organization and its members should be addressed swiftly and promptly in a manner that respects all the rights of the parties involved.
  • While we acknowledge that issues related to employee–employer relations will arise in public or private sector organizations, we must in the public interest lead by example.
  • Your Committee finds that Senator Boisvenu’s breaches of the Code and his failure to take immediate corrective measures should result in remedial action and sanction.

The remedial action and sanction?

  • Sen. Boisvenu must apologize for “the breaches of the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators identified by the Senate Ethics Officer, not having promptly remedied the real or apparent conflict of interest situation, and having failed to prevent a real or apparent conflict of interest from arising and the resulting impact on the public confidence and trust in the integrity of each Senator and in the Senate
  • Sen. Boisvenu attend a course, pre-approved by the Committee, at his expense, to ensure a proper understanding of the fundamentals of contemporary management of employer–employee relations in a public institution.

That’s it.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.