Sun, Feb 17, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Canada’s Aboriginal affairs minister resigns over letter

Reuters, OTTAWA

Canadian Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development John Duncan resigned unexpectedly on Friday after admitting he had inappropriately interceded with tax authorities on behalf of a constituent.

Duncan leaves a month after thousands of unhappy indigenous Canadians mounted protests across Canada about poor living conditions.

Duncan is the first minister to resign on a point of accountability since the federal Conservatives came to power in early 2006 vowing to clean up government.

He said he had written a character reference letter to the Tax Court of Canada in June last year on behalf of a constituent who was dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency.

HONORABLE INTENTIONS

“While the letter was written with honorable 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,” Duncan said in a statement.

Heritage Minister James Moore will take over Duncan’s duties until a new minister can be named.

Duncan, who had heart valve replacement surgery in December 2010, will continue to serve as a legislator representing a constituency in British Columbia.

Last month, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty apologized for breaking ethics rules when he lobbied on behalf of a constituent who wanted to set up a radio station.

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