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The absent-minded defence minister

Peter MacKay forgot his stake in two family-owned companies


 

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is looking into what could turn out to be a costly lapse in memory by Defence Minister Peter MacKay. According to the Halifax Chronicle Herald, MacKay failed to disclose his involvement in not one but two businesses owned by his father, legendary Mulroney-era cabinet minister Elmer MacKay, an oversight that might put him at odds with the current government’s much-vaunted ethics code. MacKay the Younger is adamant that the omission was unintentional — in a letter sent to Dawson earlier this week, he claimed that he “had forgotten” that he was on the books as vice-president of Beaver Lumber, and director of Lorne Resources, both of which positions from which he has now formally resigned. But that’s not good enough for Democracy Watch’s Duff Conacher. “His father never mentions the company or ever lets him know anything about it, as an officer, and we’re supposed to believe that? […] It’s his father’s primary source of income, and he’s an officer, and he forgot. So he manages but he doesn’t know that he manages it. Ignorance is not a defence of violation of the law.”

The Chronicle Herald


 
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The absent-minded defence minister

  1. and director of Lorne Resources, both of which positions from which he has now formally resigned.

    Aren't members of the board of directors required to meet at least annually, or quarterly?

    • I think those sorts of things are rather loosely observed in family companies. The positions McKay held wouldn't be much different from co-signing a loan for your kids – it's something you pretty quickly forget about after the initial signing.

      That said, when you're asked to sit down and detail your business involvements as an elected representative, it's not really meant to be an "off the top of your head" exercise.

      • you quickly forget loans you co-sign for your kids? mind adopting me? i was thinking about buying a new place in the fall.

      • you quickly forget loans you co-sign for your kids? mind adopting me sean? i was thinking about buying a new place in the fall. i'd be willing to wait until the paperwork is done.

        • My oldest is only ten, but if I ever back a loan for him I wouldn't be above a little kneecap massage for default.

          (I kid……. I'm not solvent enough to co-sign a loan for a lemonade stand!)

      • I believe it's a requirement of an incorporated company. Peter had a fiduciary duty if named as a director.

  2. Ignorance is not a defence… A defence, one would assume, that Minister MacKay heard many times while he was a Crown prosecutor…

  3. Could be worse: he could have put it in writing and signed it. All bets would be off.

  4. Halifax MP Megan Leslie said she finds it hard to understand Mr. MacKay's oversight.

    "It must be quite the life to forget that you're the director of certain companies," the New Democrat said. "I forget how many student loans I have, but we have different lives, Peter and I."

    Heh. That's a good line by Ms. Leslie.

  5. It will be interesting to see how money Beaver Lumber and Lorne Resources stand to receive from the recently announced $7 million in federal funding for woodlot owners in Nova Scotia (announced by Peter no less). Did anyone check to se if Karlheinz is a director?

    • This is the important bit. Any Maclean's sleuths willing to take this up?

  6. Well as long as he doesn't own a house in France… move along people.

  7. I find this shabby on the part of Peter MacKay and the Federal Conservatives. They, the Conservatives, bent over backwards to try and catch Prime Minister Martin at being in conflict of interest regarding Canada Steamship Line. Now Minister MacKay can not remember he has been an officer with these two companies. Maybe he should go back digging in the Potato patch.

  8. I am confused, Beaver Lumber still exists as a company?

    • Its a different Beaver Lumber than the defunct one, which is a totally unrelated business.

      • So maybe Peter was as confused as me and thought Beaver lumber was defunct. That would explain it, no?

        • You are joking right?
          Is this Elmer?

  9. err was… I think this demonstrates complete incompetance more than corruption. He may be corrupt as well, but one would hope he'd be a bit more organized than to leave it in the public record. This guy is supposed to be keeping track of our Army and all the myriad of details that requires, and he can't even keep track of a small business.

    • Incompetence and/or ignorance is no defence for of violating the law.
      Ask Revenue Canada or the officer writing you a speeding or parking ticket.
      Peter should not be treated differently than any other Canadian.
      This is a good test for Mary Dawson (but I'm not convinced she'll pass).
      Fed up.
      Eric

    • This guy is supposed to be keeping track of our Army and all the myriad of details that requires, and he can't even keep track of a small business.

      Perhaps MacKay didn't keep track of his father's small business because he was too busy "keeping track of our Army and all the myriad of details that requires".

      • that is a weak defense CR. as mentioned by Sean above, this is not an off the top of your head exercise. if we want a inkling of professionalism among our pols, 'i forgot' and/or 'i forgot because i was busy' comes nowhere close to being sufficient.

  10. Clearly Harper needs to take MacKay out behind the woodshed and you know
    …help him hand out big cheques.

  11. I THINK, but I'm not sure, the very last sentence in that little blurb is completely inaccurate.

    As a matter of LEGAL fact, IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NOT A DEFENCE FOR VIOLATIONS. If his signature isn't needed for authorizations, if decisions can be made without his participation, if a great amount of time has passed since his apointment as a manager, then ''forgetfullness'' IS a sound defence.

    • Really, a Minister should be excused for forgetting he is a part owner of a business. Geezz, just like he forgot he would not have talks with Harper about bringing the two parties together. Man, you Cons. supporters are gullible.

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