As part of the ongoing quest to understand the ins and outs of the Legislature, this past Tuesday the interns were able to steal a conversation with The Honourable J. David Wake, Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, shortly before the Speech from the Throne. Established in 1988, the Office of the Integrity Commissioner is responsible for the maintenance of ethical conduct in the Ontario Public Service. Mr. Wake explained how his Office deals with issues ranging from MPP integrity to expenses and lobbyists’ registration. He is entrusted with the authority to investigate potential ethics violations, provide punitive recommendations, and in some cases, apply sanctions himself.
Mr. Wake also explained that a great deal of the Office’s time is spent providing advice to MPPs and public servants on ethical behaviour. His Office can advise on post-employment restrictions, act as a watchdog for government and opposition behaviour and give guidance on receiving gifts. The office also helps MPPs review their major assets and liabilities yearly to ensure that they are not placing themselves in danger of conflicts of interest. These services are something that we will be sure to keep in mind as we progress through our internships. Perhaps we will be able to infuse what we learned into our own careers one day!
Like many around Queen’s Park this past Monday, Mr. Wake was needed shortly after our meeting at the Speech from the Throne, an event we also did not want to miss. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about our experience watching Question Period and other activities included in our busy orientation! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more updates on our progress in the Pink Palace.