Opposition calls for Canada finance minister to resign


world
 Opposition calls for Canada finance minister to resign

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who now faces opposition calls to resign, arrives for a G7 summit of Finance Ministers in May 2017

Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer on Wednesday called for the resignation of Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau over perceived ethics breaches and allegations he profited from his own tax policies.

"In my capacity as leader of the opposition, I am officially calling on Bill Morneau to resign as finance minister," Scheer said.

"It is clear that under a cloud of investigation and serious questions about his dealings going unanswered, he should not continue in his role," he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, stood by the man he credits for Canada's strong economic performance, saying: "I continue to have full confidence in the minister of finance.

"Just look at the half a million new jobs created, he dropped taxes for the middle class, increased them for the richest one percent... He is managing an economy that is doing the best in the G7."

Despite his boss's praise, Morneau has been a drag on the ruling Liberals popularity in recent months, while enduring stinging criticism from the opposition benches in parliament.

It started over the summer with a backlash over Morneau's proposed changes to Canada's small business tax regime.

The opposition Tories used the furor to accuse the minister of hypocrisy by targeting small business owners while doing little to stop Canada's richest people and large corporations from stashing monies in overseas tax shelters.

The finance minister also faced criticisms for failing to disclose his full holdings to the ethics commissioner, including a villa in southern France and shares in his family firm Morneau Shepell.

Morneau had led most to believe that he placed his assets in a blind trust when he was elected in 2015 to avoid any conflicts of interest, until it was revealed he had not.

Throughout Morneau defended his actions as simple administrative failures.

This all came to boiling point Tuesday when Morneau angrily rejected insinuations that he profited from insider knowledge of changes in government tax policies, and threatened to sue his accusers for defamation.

"If the opposition want to continue with these absurd allegations, which have no basis in any sort of fact, they take them outside of the House (where they would not be shielded by parliamentary privilege) and I will give them a sense of exactly how our legal system works," Morneau said.

By: AFP

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