John Duncan is running for Member of Parliament in the riding of Vancouver Island North for the Conservative Party of Canada.
Parliament’s Biggest Spending High Flyer
John Duncan is Parliament’s biggest spender on MP travel entitlements. For example MPs are permitted to fly a spouse or other “designated traveler” to Ottawa. The highest flyer in all of Parliament is Conservative MP John Duncan who managed to spend $60,000 flying his wife to Ottawa over the course of one single year.
Scandal: Resigns from Cabinet for Misuse of Office
In 2013, Duncan had to resign from cabinet because it was discovered that he had abused his position and inappropriately advocated to the federal Tax Court. Prior to the scandal and resignation, John Duncan was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
“We have gone out of our way to make services available to vets 24/7 and our allies say we are doing more than any other country. No one has put in the type of commitment we have. The veterans affairs budget is $1 billion more than it was when we were elected. We have no complaints from veterans in the riding, they are better looked at than they have been previously.” – February 14, 2014
In 2014, the auditor general published a scathing report on the department of Veteran Affairs. The report said veterans are saddled with incredible and unnecessary wait times to see if they are eligible for benefits. And, the ministry had no idea whether its programs were working or not. That same month, the government says Veterans Affairs returned $1.13 billion in unspent funds to the federal treasury between 2006 and 2013.
Residential Schools not genocide, just “education policy gone wrong,” 2011
In 2011, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, John Duncan weighed in on the growing recognition that the policy of residential schools amounted cultural genocide. Duncan claimed that residential schools were not cultural genocide but “education policy gone wrong” and announced that his government would install a stain glass window to recognize the survivors.
2011 Attawapiskat Housing Crisis
In 2011, before John Duncan was forced to resign as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the the remote Attawapiskat community in Northern Ontario went into a state of emergency, as people were living in tents because of insufficient housing. The government’s response was to blame the community for mismanaged funds and put it under the management of a third party. Duncan’s office declared the federal government had given the 1,800 person community more than $90 million in funding since 2006–implying this was based off negligent management. Department of Aboriginal Affairs documents show the community received $4.3 million in housing funding since 2006.
The crisis required the Red Cross to intervene and gained the attention of the UN which called out the Canadian government for its treatment of First Nations. Duncan contended his office only found out about the crisis in late October. However, his officials had made several visits to Attawapiskat prior to this date. Former Minister Chuck Strahl said the federal government had known about worsening living conditions in this community for years. He stated the Attawapiskat crisis “has been a slow-moving train wreck for a long time.”
Reform Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic
In the 90s, Duncan acted as the Reform Party’s Aboriginal Affairs critic. He was staunchly against BC’s treaty negotiations. In 1995, he helped launch a policy statement, the Interim Aboriginal Policy. The document called for:
- converting reserve and treaty settlement lands into private property,
- eliminating the Indian Act and tax exemptions,
- and ending federal funding for Aboriginal political associations.