John Duncan (Canadian politician)

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The Honourable
John Morris Duncan
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Vancouver Island North
Assumed office
Preceded by Catherine J. Bell
In office
Preceded by Ray Skelly
Succeeded by Catherine J. Bell
Personal details
Born John Morris Duncan
(1948-12-19) December 19, 1948 (age 66)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Political party Conservative
Residence Courtenay, British Columbia
Profession Forestry

John Morris Duncan, PC, MP, (born December 19, 1948) is a Canadian politician sitting as a member of the Canadian Parliament from 1993 to January 2006 and again from October 2008. On August 6, 2010, he was appointed to the Canadian Cabinet as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency until his resignation on February 15, 2013 over his inappropriate written communication to the Tax Court of Canada.[1]


Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised in British Columbia, Duncan attended the University of British Columbia and graduated with a B.Sc. F from their Faculty of Forestry in 1972. Duncan's first experience as an elected official was as an alderman in Ucluelet, British Columbia from 1982-83.[2]

Entrance to politics[edit]

In the 1993 election, Duncan was elected as a member of the Reform Party. He has served in all that party's incarnations up until the 2006 federal election, when he lost his seat to Catherine J. Bell of the New Democratic Party by 630 votes.

Duncan was the Conservative Party's Official Opposition Critic for Natural Resources. During that time he served on the Natural Resources Committee. He helped shape Conservative Party policy on west coast offshore oil and gas, softwood lumber trade and the pine beetle epidemic.

While in parliament, he was a member of the "Restaurant Caucus" in the House of Commons, a group of MPs who have interests in the restaurant industry.

Duncan's Private Member's Bill C - 259 passed the 38th Parliament to receive Royal Assent to eliminate the excise tax on jewelry. Duncan made parliamentary history as the first MP to have a Private Member's bill related to cutting taxation pass.

He won the Vancouver Island North Conservative Party nomination for the 2008 federal election and was elected with 45.78% of the vote.

On December 2, 2008, the New Democratic Party asked the RCMP to investigate John Duncan's alleged secret recording of a private NDP conference. He had apparently received the invitation to participate by mistake, in place of NDP MP Linda Duncan who had "a similar email address".[3][4] This happened within the context of the 2008–09 Canadian parliamentary dispute.

On August 6, 2010, in a minor cabinet shuffle, he joined cabinet as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.[5][6]

Under the Harper government, several key bills with a direct effect on aboriginal communities have stalled. As a result, First Nations across Canada have embarked on a widespread and prolonged series of demonstrations under the banner of “Idle No More.” In addition, Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence began a fast in December 2012 to demand a meeting with Harper and a Crown representative. In response, Duncan wrote to Spence requesting she give up her hunger strike and meet with him. "I didn’t ask for Minister Duncan," Spence replied. "And I have dealt with him before. When I observe him, he doesn't have a mind of his own because, before he would answer a question, he would always look at his people. He's not the Prime Minister."[7]

On February 15, 2013, he resigned from his cabinet position as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development after improperly advocating to a tax court on behalf of a constituent in June 2011,[8] and was replaced by James Moore.[9] He returned to cabinet in the more junior role as Minister of State and Chief Government Whip in July 2013.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan resigns from cabinet". CBC News. February 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Canada Votes 2008 – Vancouver Island North". CBC News. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  3. ^ "North Vancouver Island MP John Duncan accused of taping NDP caucus call". CanWest News. December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  4. ^ Duncan accused by NDP. BCLocalNews. December 2, 2008.[dead link]
  5. ^ "B.C.'s Duncan named Indian Affairs minister". CBC News. August 6, 2010. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  6. ^ "John Baird says he'll be a 'pussycat' in new post". CTV News. August 6, 2010. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  7. ^ "As protests swell, Attawapiskat chief stands firm on hunger strike". The Globe and Mail. December 26, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  8. ^ "John Duncan resigns as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs over 2011 reference letter". Global News. February 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  9. ^ "James Moore the right man for the job as aboriginal affairs minister, fellow MP says". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Stephen Harper’s new cabinet features new blood, more women and maintains economic team". Ottawa Citizen. July 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Harper adds 8 new faces in major cabinet shakeup". CBC News. July 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 

External links[edit]

28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Chuck Strahl Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
James Moore