Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet is reeling from an ethical slip-up that has caused the resignation of its aboriginal affairs minister and left political critics questioning why Finance Minister Jim Flaherty hasn’t also quit.
The political bombshell was dropped in the nation’s capital Friday afternoon when it was revealed that Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan had resigned from cabinet because of an inappropriate “character reference” letter he sent on behalf of a constituent to a tax court judge in 2011.
The longstanding practice in government is that it is not acceptable for a minister to send such letters to judges.
The letter came to light after Duncan and other cabinet ministers were asked to review their correspondence. That followed the recent controversy involving Flaherty’s letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) supporting the licence application of a company in his riding.
Flaherty’s office said he wrote that letter in his capacity as an MP, although his title as finance minister was underneath his signature.
In January, the federal ethics commissioner ruled that Flaherty broke conflict of interest and accountability rules.
There are no financial penalties for violating the rules and Flaherty, who said he found the incident “regrettable,” remains in cabinet.
By comparison, in accepting Duncan’s resignation, the prime minister apparently believes the aboriginal affairs minister stepped over the line by writing a judge. News of Duncan’s departure came in a brief written statement from Harper.Read the Rest Here