Ethics commissioner concerned about Morneau's potential conflict with pension bill
Published Thursday, October 26, 2017 5:30PM EDT
OTTAWA — Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says she has "concerns" about Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s sponsorship of Bill C-27.
Dawson makes the comments in a letter to NDP MP Nathan Cullen, responding to his request for an investigation into the matter.
In the letter provided to CTV News, Dawson says she will be looking into it further, and will speak to Morneau about it.
“Your letter leaves me with concerns in relation to Mr. Morneau’s involvement with Bill C-27. Consequently I will follow up with Mr. Morneau and will inform you of the outcome in due course,” she wrote to Cullen.
Cullen wrote to the ethics commissioner earlier this month requesting an investigation into whether Morneau was in a potential conflict of interest for putting forward the bill while still owning shares in his family’s human resources company. Bill C-27 proposes changes to private pensions, something that would fall under Morneau Shepell’s purview.
At the time the letter was sent, Morneau was using an ethics loophole to continue to indirectly own shares in Morneau Shepell. Morneau has since announced he will divest himself, and following a meeting with Dawson Thursday morning, says he will donate the money earned from any increase in the value of shares in Morneau Shepell since he was elected.
Bill C-27 was tabled in Oct. 2016 and has not yet been debated.
When he took the finance minister position, Dawson set up an ethics screen managed by his chief of staff to keep Morneau from getting involved in government business that could affect the company, but his continued ownership of the giant HR firm created the potential for Morneau to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act, the opposition has said.
With files from CTV News' Rachel Aiello