Ministers Can’t Play by Separate Rule Book
Another day, another incident of Liberal arrogance, entitlement and hypocrisy. This time, however, the Liberals have finally blinked due to public backlash.
Justin Trudeau’s right-hand man, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, has been feeling the heat as a result of his use of a loophole for two years to shield his tens of millions of dollars of shares in his family’s financial services company from the Canadian public. Morneau did this while both he and Trudeau spent the summer crossing the country calling hard-working farmers, shop owners and other small business owners “tax cheats.” Talk about hypocrisy!
The revelation that the Morneau neither sold nor put his assets into a blind trust following his appointment as Minister only came to light last week after constant pressure from the Conservative Opposition in the House of Commons. Apparently, Morneau moved his shares into a corporation he created and continues to control so that he technically would not own the shares “directly”. According to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the fact that Morneau has these shares sitting in a corporation means that they are not subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, even though the Minister, through his corporation, controlled them.
The Finance Minister is the most important financial decision maker in Canada. By holding $40 million worth of shares in his family’s financial services company Morneau Shepell for two years, Morneau put himself in a direct conflict of interest because his decisions as Finance Minister directly affect the prosperity of this company. Further, his sponsorship of Bill C-27, which deals with target benefit and pension plans, is astonishing given that Morneau Shepell is one of Canada’s leading financial firms offering private pension products. Once this bill becomes law, Morneau Shepell and its stakeholders will be well-placed to benefit to the tune of millions of dollars.
Canadians who go to work every day to provide for their families are outraged by this. It was profoundly disappointing to hear Prime Minister Trudeau defend Morneau in the House of Commons by stating again and again that his Finance Minister had done nothing wrong. It is shameful that Trudeau did not ensure his Finance Minister wouldn’t make policy decisions that he could personally benefit from. This is why Ministers of the Crown divest their stock investments into cash holdings – to free themselves from the criticism of lining their own pockets through decisions they make on behalf of the Government of Canada.
Conservatives will continue to stand up for Canadian small business owners in the face of Justin Trudeau’s tax hikes and in the wake of his government’s defence of the Finance Minister’s despicable actions. It’s clear that the Liberals think that they play by a separate rule book than the rest of Canada.
We will not allow this sense of entitlement to stand.