The West Block: MPs duke it out over Bill Morneau controversy
Did Bill Morneau engage in some form of insider trading in the weeks just after he took office? Or did he and his father sell off hundreds of thousands of shares in their family firm, Morneau Shepell, in innocent transactions that had nothing whatsoever to do with pending government legislation linked to taxes?
Who knew about the sales? When exactly did they happen, and who ordered them? Should Morneau be drummed out of Cabinet, or is this all much ado about nothing?
The ongoing controversy surrounding the finance minister and his personal wealth has caused nothing short of an uproar on Parliament Hill over the last several weeks.
It reached a fever pitch last Thursday when the prime minister was admonished for calling the Opposition a bunch of liars, and a Tory MP from Alberta was unceremoniously booted from Question Period for refusing to pipe down.
Morneau himself has threatened to sue.
READ MORE: Andrew Scheer says Bill Morneau must resign
This weekend, The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos invited representatives from the Liberal, Conservative and NDP camps into studio help sort through the noise.
Liberal MP Marco Mendicino was, unsurprisingly, quick to defend Morneau’s actions, arguing that “there is zero actual evidence of any of the ludicrous allegations which have been made.”
Even if the sale of Morneau’s shares did save him money, he said, there’s no way to predict how the stock market will react to any given legislation, and the Liberals had been clear during the election campaign that they were going to hike taxes on Canada’s wealthiest people.
WATCH: Morneau reiterates desire to have opposition repeat accusations ‘in the foyer’
But Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs countered that the Opposition is just asking questions about the timing of the sales, and who was behind them.
“These are very serious, simple questions … Canadians deserve to have answers,” she said.
The NDP’s Kennedy Stewart, meanwhile, said his party is inclined toward a “more reasoned look” at the situation, but in order to do that, they need the facts.
“It’d be really nice if the finance minister made that easy for us,” he told Kapelos. “There is a problem here, maybe it’s not something you go to jail for, but there’s something else that we have to know.”
– Watch the full panel discussion above
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