Morneau is only minister still holding assets outside blind trust, ethics commissioner says

Mary Dawson clarifies earlier statement, says justice minister previously held assets without blind trust

November 03, 2017

Jody Wilson-Raybould had previously held company shares outside a blind trust, but Finance Minister Bill Morneau is now the only cabinet minister left who still does. (Canadian Press)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the only cabinet member who currently holds assets outside a blind trust, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was previously in the same situation, she said.


This information, outlined in a statement released Friday, clarifies the confusion stemming from comments Dawson's office made Monday when it said "fewer than five [Liberal] cabinet ministers currently hold controlled assets indirectly."

"There has been much attention given to the number of cabinet ministers who indirectly hold controlled assets and do not have a blind trust," Dawson said in the statement.

"Based on the information available to my office, there is only one cabinet minister, the finance minister, who currently indirectly holds controlled assets and does not at present have a blind trust. Another cabinet minister, the minister of justice, previously indirectly held controlled assets and did not have a blind trust."

According to the minister's office Wilson-Raybould has an interest in a privately held corporation. When the minister assumed office that corporation held publicly traded shares.

Spokesman David Taylor told CBC News that on the ethics commissioner's advice, Wilson-Raybould was not "apprised of the financial or management decisions made by that privately owned corporation."

The shares held in the company were sold in April 2016, according to Taylor.

"Shortly after the minister was made aware of the sale of the publicly traded shares, she informed the Ethics commissioner's Office. As a result, the minister's disclosure statement was updated to reflect this change," said Taylor in an email.

Confused communications

The Toronto Star reported Monday, citing a senior government official, that the total number of cabinet ministers who held assets outside of a blind trust was two: Morneau and Wilson-Raybould.

When asked Monday about how many Conservative cabinet ministers in the previous government held assets outside of a blind trust, Dawson's office also said "fewer than five."

On Thursday, when asked to clarify what "fewer than five" meant, Dawson's office told CBC News it could mean "one, two, three or four."

Dawson said she decided to issue the clarification on who specifically held shares in a blind trust, and who did not, because it had already been put in the public domain.

Last week, Morneau committed to selling the $21 million worth of shares he holds in his former company, Morneau Shepell, following accusations that he's personally profited from changes he has made as finance minister.

He said he would donate the profits earned on his Morneau Shepell shares since he was elected to charity.

Morneau has also promised to place the rest of his assets in a blind trust.

Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson clarified Friday the number of cabinet ministers who either held or still hold assets outside a blind trust. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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