OTTAWA –Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign his cabinet post.
"Bill Morneau has betrayed the trust of Canadians over and over," Scheer told reporters in the House of Commons foyer on Wednesday.
The call for Morneau to step down comes amid continuing and contentious attacks from the opposition over his personal finances and alleged breach of federal ethics law.
Responding to the opposition’s call for Morneau’s ousting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during question period that he has "full confidence" in Morneau and the job he’s doing as finance minister.
"This is the finance minister who refused to answer simple questions about his assets and who controlled them," Scheer said.
If Morneau won’t step down, Trudeau should remove him, said Scheer.
Breaking from convention on Wednesday, a day where Trudeau typically fields all the questions during question period, Morneau rose to fire back over opposition allegations that that he improperly sold off shares in Morneau Shepell in November 2015 ahead of an income tax change that caused the stock market to drop.
"There are no secrets here," said Morneau, doubling down on his calls to have the opposition take their allegations of insider trading outside of the House of Commons, where MPs are not protected by parliamentary privilege. Earlier in the week Morneau threatened to sue the Conservatives for making the insinuation.
"As has been reported in the press, when I came into office, I sold some shares," said Morneau, when asked about whether it was he who sold the 680,000 Morneau Shepell shares in question.
The opposition said Morneau’s threat of legal action was not fitting of a finance minister.
Neither the Conservatives or NDP were satisfied with either Trudeau or Morneau’s responses, so they kept up the questioning.
"The prime minister said he would be different, he said he would answer questions… by not holding the finance minister accountable, how would he expect any Canadian to believe anything he has to say?" said New Democrat ethics critic Nathan Cullen.
The prime minister classified the consistent attacks as "baseless" and "throwing dirt."
The two sides also went back and forth over whether the opposition had already repeated their allegations outside of the House, or whether when Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre tempered his words when he walked out of question period yesterday to repeat the line of questioning in front of a microphone.
In his call for Morneau to resign, the Tory leader also highlighted that the finance minister is under investigation from the ethics commissioner over whether he broke federal ethics law over his sponsorship of Bill C-27, while still owning shares in Morneau Shepell. The opposition allege that it as a conflict of interest for Morneau to use an ethics loophole to continue to indirectly hold shares in the human resources company that bears his family name, while bringing forward the legislation that makes changes to private pensions, which falls under the company's purview.
"I am officially calling on Bill Morneau to resign as finance minister. It is clear that under a cloud of investigation and serious questions about his dealings going unanswered, he should not continue in his role," Scheer said.