Inside Politics

Ethics watchdog won't look into letter that led Duncan to resign

Despite the nature of the self-reported ethical transgression that led to last week's unexpected and abrupt departure from cabinet by former Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has no plans to launch an investigation into the character reference that he provided to a BC federal tax court on behalf of an unnamed constituent.  

In response to a query, a spokesperson for the office provided the following statement: "As Mr. Duncan has already acknowledged that it was improper ... and has resigned from his position .. the commissioner has determined that self-initiating an examination into the matter is not warranted." 

In fact, according to her office, Dawson hadn't been looking into the file before Duncan gave notice, which pretty much puts paid to the theory being aired in some corners that he may have stepped down -- or, alternately, been stepped down -- to preempt a damning report on his conduct. 

In a city as driven by rumour and speculation as Ottawa, it's too easy to forget that sometimes, a surprise ministerial resignation is, in fact, just a surprise ministerial resignation. 


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