John Duncan quits AAND portfolio after writing to tax court
James Moore, the heritage minister, to take over as acting AAND minister
(updated 11 a.m., Feb. 17)
John Duncan, the Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North, has resigned as minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement issued late in the afternoon of Feb. 15.
“I would like to thank Mr. Duncan for his many contributions as minister and for his service to the people of Canada,” Harper said.
In a statement of his own issued shortly after Harper’s announcement, Duncan said he quit cabinet because of a letter he wrote to the Tax Court of Canada on behalf of a constituent.
“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,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he takes “full responsibility” for his actions.
“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,” Duncan said.
Harper said James Moore, the MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, will serve as acting AAND minister until a new minister is named. Moore is also minister of Canadian Heritage and Officials Languages.
Harper’s statement did not give a reason for Duncan’s resignation, but said Duncan will continue to serve as an MP.
Duncan, 64, was appointed to the AAND portfolio in August 2010, replacing Chuck Strahl.
Terry Audla, resident of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said he learned about Duncan’s resignation late Feb. 15, along with other sboriginal leaders attending the Indspire awards ceremony in Saskatoon.
“I want to wish Minister Duncan well. We had productive meetings together to advance the issues of Inuit communities across the Arctic,” Audla said in a Feb. 17 statement. “This is an important time in Canada for all aboriginal peoples — Inuit, First Nations, and Métis. I look forward to continuing moving our issues forward with James Moore, minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages as the acting minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, until a new Minister is named.”