Federal Liberals appoint interim ethics commissioner after six-month vacancy

Ottawa has appointed an interim ethics watchdog, more than six months after the last permanent commissioner retired.

The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner released a statement saying Konrad Winrich von Finckenstein has been appointed to the role for the next six months.

Martine Richard, a longtime staffer in the office, had been appointed interim commissioner in April, but stepped down not long after amid controversy over the fact she is the sister-in-law of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Mario Dion, the last permanent conflict-of-interest and ethics commissioner, retired in February.

The Opposition Conservatives have criticized Trudeau for how long it has taken to appoint a replacement, pointing out the six-month hiatus is the longest since the role was created in 2007.

As incoming commissioner, von Finckenstein will be able to undertake ethics investigations and provide advice to members of Parliament and other public office holders about the responsibilities under the Conflict of Interest Act.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2023.

The Canadian Press