John Duncan resigns -

John Duncan resigns

The Aboriginal Affairs Minister abruptly steps down


A statement from the Prime Minister.

“Today, I have accepted the resignation of John Duncan as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

“I would like to thank Mr. Duncan for his many contributions as Minister and for his service to the people of Canada. Mr. Duncan will continue to serve as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North in the House of Commons.

“The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, will serve as the acting Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development until a new Minister is named.”

A statement from Mr. Duncan explains why.

“In June of 2011 I wrote a character reference letter to the Tax Court of Canada on behalf of an individual to whom my constituency staff was providing casework assistance on a Canada Revenue Agency matter.

“While the letter was written with honourable intentions, I realize that it was not appropriate for me, as a Minister of the Crown, to write to the Tax Court. I have therefore offered my resignation as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to the Prime Minister, which he has accepted.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and the consequences they have brought.

“It has been an honour to serve in the Cabinet and I thank the Prime Minister for placing his confidence in me on this most important file. I have every confidence that the Government will reach its goal of improving the lives of Aboriginal peoples across our country.

“I pledge that I will continue to work hard on behalf of the constituents of Vancouver Island North as their elected representative in Ottawa.”

Mr. Duncan will be added to the official list of ministerial resignations as the seventh minister to step down since the Conservatives formed government in 2006. The nearest precedent for Mr. Duncan’s particular situation might be Jean Charest, who resigned as sports minister in 1990 after speaking to a judge. David Collenette (who does not appear on that list of resignations for whatever reason) resigned in 1996 over a letter to the immigration and refugee board.

What’s the difference between Mr. Duncan’s letter to the Tax Court and Jim Flaherty’s letter to the CRTC? Adam Dodek says it’s the difference between judicial and quasi-judicial.


John Duncan resigns

  1. Repost from Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize winner and former war
    correspondent for the New York Times) on Canada’s right-wing neocon Prime Minister
    Stephen Harper:

    Harper is a poster child for corporate malfeasance and
    corporate power, just sort of dismantling everything that’s good about Canada. So he’s the kind of species that rises to
    political power and is utterly subservient to corporate interests at the
    expense of the citizenry.

    Yeah, he’s a pretty venal figure.


    • And you’re an idiot.

      • It’s generally not a good idea to be posting on comment boards while looking in the mirror and talking to oneself.

          • That’s ridiculous…why would I dispense advice I don’t take myself – that would make me no better than those hypocritical Cons.

        • Watch out there isn’t someone behind you. :) looking at you, looking at yourself, looking at Brain dead guy in the mirror. I should pull the ladder up eh.

          • Wow, that’s a reflective comment.

          • Heh! I could’ve been a vampire though.

  2. @InfoAlerteBot


    • Who’s the “we” you speak for?

  3. Stepping right out of office would be even better Mr Duncan… The North Island is better off without you….
    We didn’t want you in the first place… Those Robocalls got you reelected..

    • Were there allegations of robo calls in VI North? First i’ve heard of it. Besides he has won his seat more than once. Not that i liked the guy at all. He seems to come from the Tom Flanagan school of Aboriginal rights. They wont be sorry to see him go at all.

      • It’s become chapter, verse and catechism among certain self-styled progressives that the only reason any conservative got elected anywhere last election is because of robocalls. So of course John Duncan only got elected because of robocalls — I mean, he’s a conservative and all.

        • I did ask the question. No answer yet.

  4. Isn’t it handy that there’s something sitting around [from June of 2011] to do the job of eliminating a minister that has just embarrassed the PM?

    Meanwhile other members of cabinet do and say the most outrageous things, and they’re still ministers.

    • EmilyOne, What do you mean by just embarrassed the PM?

      • Chief Spence, Idle no more, blockading trains…..gone on for some time, and doesn’t make Harper look good or in charge.

        Second uproar at that seeing as we had the housing scandal at Attawapisikat last year.

    • EmilyOne, What do you mean by just embarrassed the PM? I’m not very up to date on Duncan’s latest activity..something in committee last week?? I’m so curious as to what’s behind this resignation!

  5. It’s hard to interpret this as anything other than General Secretary Harper sending an underperforming sycophant to the gulag.

    The timing (Friday afternoon of a long weekend) betrays the General Secretary’s hope that Minister Duncan simply and mysteriously joins the ranks of “the disappeared”.

    • Add to that this post is supposed to become a priority. Then there’s the matter of Duncan sending off recent letters that seemed to contradict the notion of FNs having legit self governance or treaty rights in BC, and you are only left with one possible option… For someone like Harper anyway – the plank. In other circumstances I doubt if Duncan would get the chop in this govt.
      He could of course be also paying the price for bad senate PR on Harpers watch? Someone had to walk that plank… bad luck John eh.

  6. Lord only knows what might have happened to him if he’d only ordered a $16 glass of OJ, or put a big NOT in the middle of his reference to the tax boys, before sending it off?
    Perhaps the PM might have gone to bat for him?

  7. how insulting that they replace the aboriginal affairs minister with the canadian heritage minister, it served two purposes, to get rid of an imbecile and throw an veiled insult to native heritage, one of the very things idle no more is fighting for

  8. Maybe inside the Queensway there’s a clear distinction between attempting to influence a court and influence a quasi-judicial body…. from where I sit, I don’t see how what Flaherty did is any different.

    • Maybe these letters are like a good wine; you have to let them age long enough. Duncan’s had over a year and a half to develop a good robust body, whereas Flaherty’s was uncorked too soon.

  9. Looking at those ministerial resignations it is striking that you have to go right back to PET’s time to see more than one resignation on a matter of principle.

    I count 1 in Harper’s time [Chong], i in Martins. None that i can see disclosed in Chretiens. One in BM’s [Bouchard.] And 3 in PETs, although it was well known Turner resigned because he wasn’t happy with Trudeau’s economic policies…so i make that 4. I suppose some of the undisclosed ones[personal reasons] were principle also. But my memory isn’t that accurate…nor do i care that much. Still, resigning on principle seems to have pretty much gone the way of the Dodo.

    • I think it’s awesome that you rank Canadian governments based on which ones openly have the highest # of ministers resign due to transgressions.

      • I think it’s hilarious that you think having principles as a minister is a transgression.

      • Do you even know what resigning on a point of principle entails? Dumb question to ask a troll like you.