Chuckles needs to change gears.

It is a rare time that we give serious advice to the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. It is that ‘Chuckles’ Scheer is going to have to learn the difference between legitimate political criticism and harassment. Watching Finance Minister Bill Morneau in the House of Commons it seemed to me that the poor man was distraught. This baiting has gone too far.

Chuckles and the rest of the Conservative caucus have to understand that if you are unwilling to ask your question outside the House of Commons—where you have no parliamentary immunity—then you are impugning the man’s honour. And if you have no basis for the truth of your claims, then you have no honour.

What all MPs need to understand is that Canadians are embarrassed and annoyed by the depth of the juvenile antics in the House. It is dishonourable. Do you go home and scream invective across the living room at the spouse? That is not a benefit of being elected either.

Why Bill Morneau should be hounded about selling his shares in the family company, when it was the only smart thing for him to do, makes no sense. He had been criticized for not putting the shares in a blind trust but he was doing the next best thing: divesting. Everyone knew that the earnings would be taxed at a higher rate in the next year, so why would he not tell his advisor to sell before the end of the year? And why would his father not do the same?

And all this being said, we should turn our attention to the prime minister who should have fired Bill Morneau at the beginning of this contretemps. As much as Morneau claims to have been assured by ethics commissioner Mary Dawson that he did not need to have a blind trust, she probably had no idea how much his holdings would be impacted by changing rules.

If Justin Trudeau had the discussions needed with the man chosen to be his finance minister, he should have advised him to use the same type of blind trust as the Trudeau family.

As I have already stated a couple times in these commentaries, the role of the finance minister is that of Caesar’s wife. He must be above suspicion. While Canada has lost a few good finance ministers over the years, the government of the day cannot invite suspicion of any sort. Morneau is no longer tenable.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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