Tuesday, November 28, 2017

UPDATED: A Sad Day In The House

It is indeed a sad day in public life when a worm like Pierre Poilievre can stand up in the House of Commons and seem to occupy the high moral ground as he renders ethical judgement on a minister of the Crown. Yet the government of Justin Trudeau has brought this odium on itself by harbouring Bill Morneau from the kind of standards all Canadians should expect from their politicians:

The Star reports that the sale of $10.5 million worth of shares in Morneau's company, Morneau Sheppell, occurred on Nov. 30, 2015,
a week before the Liberal government formally introduced changes to tax rates — dropping the income tax rate for middle-class Canadians while boosting it on high-income earners.

Those rates were to take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, prompting financial advisers to advise high-income earners to realize capital gains in the last weeks of 2015 to avoid the coming higher tax rates.

The 680,000 shares were sold for $15 apiece. By Dec. 14, a week after the tax rate announcement, they had dropped to $13.96.

Morneau held two million shares in Morneau Sheppell and sold half of those in the fall of 2015, a source has told the Star. Profits from those sales were donated to charity. The National Post has reported that the shares sold on Nov. 30 were held by Morneau.
Liberal loyalists and apologists will no doubt assert that the fact the profits from the sale were donated to charity means this is a non-issue. To argue thus, however, is to miss two key points:

The donation itself would have afforded Morneau a very handsome tax benefit.

That insider trading was committed by the Minister of Finance (that he refused to exonerate himself by answering the question suggests his guilt) renders him unfit for public office. How can Canadians believe the government has its best interests at heart if it shields such egregiously unethical behaviour?

Morneau should be compelled to answer the question. If the answer is what I think it is, he should finally do something honourable and resign.

Democracy Watch has a Government Ethics Campaign you may want to check out. It has already sent out over 170,000 letters about this issue.


  1. Morneau just keeps digging a deeper hole, Lorne.

    1. And he's pulling the rest of the party down into it with him, Owen.