List of Canadian political scandals

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This is a list of major political scandals in Canada:


Scandal Description Associated Groups Year
Pacific Scandal Allegations of bribes being taken by the government of Sir John A. Macdonald[1] Conservative Party 1870s
King-Byng Affair Scandal in the Department of Customs and Excise that led to the King-Byng Affair Liberal Party 1926
Munsinger Affair Canada's first national political sex scandal.[2] Progressive Conservative Party 1960s
Tunagate Tainted tuna. Progressive Conservative Party 1985
Grant Bristow Canadian Security Intelligence Service infiltration of Reform Party of Canada and covert founding of Heritage Front Heritage Front 1990s
Airbus affair Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was implicated in a kickback scheme to purchase Airbus planes for Air Canada Progressive Conservative Party 1995
APEC Inquiry Royal Canadian Mounted Police conduct at the APEC summit in Vancouver RCMP 1997
Shawinigate An alleged conflict of interest lobbying effort by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Liberal Party 1999
Sponsorship scandal Misuse and misdirection of funds disbursed through the Liberal government's 1990s sponsorship program. Investigated by the Gomery Commission. Liberal Party 2004
Shoe Store Project Prime Minister's Office under Stephen Harper plans $2M, government-controlled media centre to replace current National Press Theatre (which is run by press gallery staff, instead of those from the PMO).[3] Conservative Party 2007
Julie Couillard scandal Conservative Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier resigned after leaving sensitive NATO documents in the home of Julie Couillard, an ex-girlfriend with links to the Hells Angels biker gang.[4] Conservative Party 2007
In and Out scandal Alleged circumvention of election finance rules by the Conservatives in the 2006 election campaign. Conservative Party 2007
Canadian Afghan detainee issue Prorogued government a second time claiming it was for the Olympics to avoid inquiry into the maltreatment of Afghan detainees. Harper was found to be in Contempt of Parliament for refusing to share information. The first time in Canadian history Conservative Party 2010
Robocall scandal Allegations of widespread voter fraud occurring during the 2011 Canadian federal election. Robotic and live calls to voters are claimed to have been made in 38 ridings. Currently under investigation by the RCMP and Elections Canada. Conservative Party 2012
The ETS Scandal An ongoing Canadian political scandal involving alleged wrongdoing by Canadian government officials in the award of a $400-million information technology services contract and allegations of political interference in the ensuing cover-up. Conservative Party 2000s
F35 Fighter Jet Scandal Involved misleading costs of F35 Fighter Jets to replace former CF18s Conservative Party 2012
CFIA Scandal is an ongoing scandal involving food inspection services being insufficient to the Canadian public this comes after the budget cuts to Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the temporary closure of XL Meats due to a widespread E-coli outbreak in Alberta[5] Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2012
Canadian Senate expenses scandal An ongoing investigation concerning the expense claims of certain Canadian senators which began in late 2012. Senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau claimed travel and housing expenses from the Senate for which they were not eligible. Senate of Canada 2012


British Columbia[edit]

New Brunswick[edit]

Nova Scotia[edit]

  • The Thornhill Affair - involved Roland Thornhill, who resigned as Deputy Premier in the 1990s after allegations dealing with a debt settlement from 1980 was brought into question.
  • The Billy Joe MacLean Affair(The BJM Affair) - MLA Billy Joe MacLean was expelled from the Assembly after Premier John Buchanan's Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation prohibiting anyone from sitting in the assembly who had been convicted of an indictable offence punishable by imprisonment for more than five years. MacLean pleaded guilty to four counts of submitting forged documents - went to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, which upheld Macleans expulsion, but declared the law that prohibited him from running as a candidate to be unconstitutional - MacLean was re-elected in a by-election in 1987. He was subsequently defeated in the 1988 general election by Danny Graham (Liberal).[10]


  • Ontario Bond Scandal - United Farmers of Ontario (early 1920s)
  • Patti Starr scandal in the late 1980s - illegal use of charitable funds for political campaigns donations
  • Ipperwash Crisis - incident involving the shooting death of Dudley George, an unarmed Native activist, by an Ontario Provincial Police officer in 1995[11]
  • Kimberly Rogers - After a disputed welfare fraud conviction, Rogers committed suicide in her Sudbury apartment while under house arrest in 2001, leading to extensive controversy around the Mike Harris government's 1996 welfare reforms, as well as an inquest which made several still-unimplemented recommendations for changes to the system.
  • Toronto Computer Leasing Inquiry - judicial inquiry into improper computer leasing contracts made by Toronto's municipal government in 1999
  • Walkerton water scandal in the year 2000
  • Toronto Police Drug Scandal - multiple scandals broke out in early 2004, as a result of internal affairs and RCMP investigations. Allegations of the sale of narcotics, fake search warrants, raid tip-offs and mob gambling debts involved many dozens of Toronto police officers, including former chief William J. McCormack's son, Michael, who was eventually brought up on 23 charges. As a result of the scandal, the plainclothes downtown unit which many of the charged officers worked out of was disbanded. The court cases relating to these charges continue.
  • ORNGE - Air Ambulance Scandal - In 2011 Ornge was involved in a controversy regarding executives compensation, including President and CEO Chris Mazza. Mazza went on an indefinite medical leave on 22 December 2011 at the height of the scandal. The Toronto Star uncovered that Mazza was receiving $1.4 million a year while remaining off the sunshine list of public employees earning over $100,000. That salary made him the highest publicly paid official in the province. Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews stated that Mazza’s salary was "outrageous, shocking and unacceptable". Ornge Global, Ornge's for-profit division, also received $6.7 million in a contract from Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, which is also part of the audit by the provincial auditor general. On 16 February 2012 Ornge formally became the subject of an Ontario Provincial Police investigation for "financial irregularities".
  • Ontario power plant scandal - June 6, 2011 Plans to construct a gas-fired power plant in an environmentally sensitive area of Mississauga has some residents up in arms. After weeks of continual protest from concerned community activists in Mississauga and Oakville, the Ontario Liberals decide to cancel the gas plants. NDP MPPs claim the decision was not motivated by environmental concerns but rather political ones.[12]
  • Rob Ford crack video scandal - May, 2013




  1. ^ "Lesson 25: The Pacific Scandal". CBC. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Munsinger Affair". CBC. 18 March 1966. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  3. ^ PM plans own media centre, Toronto Star, Oct. 15, 2007.
  4. ^ "Who is Julie Couillard". Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ The UFA (newspaper), March 1, 1922
  7. ^ a b Justine Hunter (1991-09-24). "Scandal, retirement take toll on politicians seeking re-election". the Vancouver Sun. p. B7. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ BC Supreme Court "Reasons for Judgment"
  10. ^ [1] Canadian Parliamentary Review, "The Legislature, Charter and Billy Joe MacLean"
  11. ^ "The Ipperwash Inquiry". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2013. [dead link]
  12. ^ Global News - A timeline of the cancelled Mississauga and Oakville power plants

External links[edit]