Conservative leader Andrew Scheer speaks with the media in the Foyer of the House of Commons Wednesday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Conservatives call for embattled Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign

Morneau has faced intense pressure for not fully disclosing his personal financial arrangements

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for Bill Morneau’s resignation Wednesday as political rivals stepped up their attacks on a finance minister mired in controversy for weeks.

Scheer demanded that Morneau step aside, and if he won’t, then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should just fire him.

“After careful consideration, in my capacity of leader of the Opposition, I am officially calling on Bill Morneau to resign as finance minister,” Scheer told reporters before question period, where the issue dominated debate and saw Trudeau come to Morneau’s defence.

Scheer’s call for Morneau’s departure is the latest fuel thrown on the political fire that’s swirled around the finance minister since the summer, when he proposed tax-system changes that enraged small business owners.

Since then, Morneau has faced intense political pressure for not fully disclosing his personal financial arrangements.

Then came conflict-of-interest allegations over proposed pension reform, spearheaded by Morneau, that opponents have alleged would bring him personal financial benefit. The federal ethics commissioner has launched a formal examination into the matter.

This week, the Tories and the New Democrats have been grilling the Liberals about the 2015 sale of shares in the human resources firm Morneau Shepell, built by Morneau and his father, ahead of a tax change announcement.

During Monday’s question period, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre had claimed Morneau’s December 2015 announcement, which unveiled the government’s plan raise income taxes on the highest earners, caused the entire stock market to drop — including the value of Morneau Shepell shares.

Poilievre said 680,000 shares in the company were sold off roughly a week earlier — saving the owner half a million dollars.

He repeatedly asked Morneau on Monday if he was the person who sold those shares, but the minister sidestepped the questions. On Wednesday, Morneau acknowledged that he sold Morneau Shepell shares after coming into office in the fall of 2015.

Poilievre has also suggested that Morneau used his inside knowledge to benefit himself financially.

“It is actually the responsibility of government to ensure that no minister ever uses inside knowledge to benefit from transactions on the stock market,” Poilievre said Monday during question period.

A day later, Morneau threatened to sue the Conservatives for suggesting he used his inside knowledge.

He challenged the Tories to step outside the House of Commons, and away from the legal shield known as parliamentary privilege, to repeat the insinuation.

Anything said in the House of Commons is subject to parliamentary privilege, which gives MPs legal protection from libel and defamation laws.

On Wednesday, Morneau and Trudeau took turns challenging the Opposition again to bring their accusations outside the House.

“If the member opposite has an allegation, if he wants to say something, he should say what he means,” Morneau said in a response to a question from Scheer.

“He should say it here, he should say it now, he should stand up and say it — and then he should go out into the foyer and say it again.”

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fiddle tunes complete farm bistro experience

Year-end recital at the Roost features Nellie Quinn’s fiddle students

Rebirth of downtown cultural festival coming to Victoria in July

Folktoria aims to pick up where Folkfest left off

Pass a pint: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets on sale now

Over 200 brews and ciders will be featured at this year’s craft celebration

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria expansion gets $6M boost from province

Project many years in the making, but planned for current Rockland site

B2B season has rare Island line-up of shows in Qualicum Beach

Month-and-a-half of performances kicks off with Baskerville comedy July 3

VIDEO: Jazz vocalist Susannah Adams continues her Island tour Sunday at Crofton pub

Fresh off a triumphant show at Hermann’s Jazz Club, Adams set to light up Osborne Bay Pub

B.C. tourism grant helps Sooke Fine Arts Show

Grant will attract audiences from across B.C. and Washington

Sooke Arts Council hosts open house

Event takes place July 3 at 7 p.m.

Disney production filming at Victoria’s Government House today

Made-for-TV movie will feature the inside of the Rockland Avenue mansion

Duncan Has Talent performers prepping for summer show

Signups on now for crowd-pleasing series staged at Charles Hoey Park as part of The 39 Days of July.

Gabriola glass blowers Dirk Huysman, Mary Ann Richards launch first solo show

Plan a road trip: Island’s Hive Emporium hosting exhibition through June 24

PRIDE WEEK: Popularity has surged for Memorial Drag Ball game in the past 20 years

The venue has changed, but the theme of not taking one’s self too seriously remains

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

Most Read