Duncan Chastised For Facebook Comments

(WINDSOR, ON) – The head of the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority is in hot water over Facebook comments he made. Dwight Duncan, the former Liberal MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh and finance minister for Ontario, has been forced to withdraw partisan comments he made regarding federal Conservative members and US President Donald Trump.

Dwight Duncan.

Dwight Duncan.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is a Crown corporation tasked with managing the construction of the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge. The $4.8 Billion project will be Canada’s largest infrastructure project when it gets underway. Duncan is a political appointment as the chair of the WDBA and, as such, is bound by rules for holders of public office.

Duncan, since his permanent appointment as chair in December last year, has made numerous comments on Facebook in support of the Liberal government while also criticizing Trump. This, despite the Prime Minister’s Office having issued instructions muzzling Liberal MPs from expressing their opinions of Trump. Some of Duncan’s comments, however, not only criticized the president, but also the American political system.

“It’s a non-partisan position, and maybe he should start acting in a non-partisan manner,” said Conservative MP John Brassard. “He should be doing his job, and not getting involved in politics. If he wanted to be involved in politics, maybe he should run again.”

Chastised, Duncan yesterday sent a letter to Amarjeet Sohi, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and published it on his Facebook page. Duncan was contrite and apologized for his transgressions, regretting, “… the lack of respect shown to Parliament as a result of my actions.”

“A number of my postings clearly violated the letter and spirit of Parliament’s direction to Governor-in-Council appointees respecting partisan involvement while serving. Those postings have been or are being deleted today,” Duncan wrote to Sohi. “I wish to unreservedly apologize to you, and through you to Parliament. At the time of my appointment I was made aware of the rules and expectations of all of us who have the privilege of serving in these posts.”

He also indicated that he would cease making monetary contributions to the Liberal party.

“For many years, I contributed financially to the Liberal Party of Canada through the Laurier Club and to individual riding associations. My last contribution to the Laurier Club was made in the Spring of 2016 prior to my permanent appointment,” he wrote.

The full Duncan letter to Sohi

Dear Minister Sohi:

Re: Globe and Mail Story around my Facebook Postings

Last evening the Globe and Mail published a story concerning certain of my postings on Facebook going back to my appointment as interim Chair of the WDBA in December of 2015.

Since being contacted by the reporter doing the story, I have reviewed all 300+ postings going back to the date of my interim appointment. I have also reviewed my Twitter feed which is linked to my Facebook page.

A number of my postings clearly violated the letter and spirit of Parliament’s direction to Governor-in-Council appointees respecting partisan involvement while serving. Those postings have been or are being deleted today.

I wish to unreservedly apologize to you, and through you to Parliament. At the time of my appointment I was made aware of the rules and expectations of all of us who have the privilege of serving in these posts.

Given my long history of partisan involvement prior to my appointment, and my obvious lapse in judgement on Facebook, I thought I would share with you other steps I have taken to ensure that I do not contravene the rules any further.

For many years, I contributed financially to the Liberal Party of Canada through the Laurier Club and to individual riding associations. My last contribution to the Laurier Club was made in the Spring of 2016 prior to my permanent appointment.

I have not served in any formal capacity with the Liberal Party of Canada or any of its Provincial affiliates or riding associations for many years. Prior to my appointment, I volunteered in a variety of capacities at the local, provincial and national levels.

I have not attended any Liberal Party of Canada conventions, meetings, or fundraisers at the National, Provincial or local levels since my appointment.

Further, since my appointment I have remained a financial contributor to the Ontario Liberal Party. It was my understanding at the time of that appointment that this was not captured by Parliament’s rules. That being said, I will cease those contributions immediately in order to respect the spirit of the government and Parliaments’ intent.

As a former Parliamentarian, I deeply regret the lack of respect shown to Parliament as a result of my actions.

Regards,

ORIGINAL SIGNED BY

Dwight Duncan

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between.

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