Peter Penashue quits the cabinet and resigns his seat

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue announced today that he will be quitting the Harper cabinet and resigning his Labrador seat in order to run in a by-election.

The move comes as Penashue is under a scandalous cloud regarding his campaign during the 2011 election as he may have breached the limit and taken a corporate donation. Penashue’s defenders in the party state that he wasn’t aware of what had happened. Penashue is likely running to clear the air and take responsibility. He has also paid back $30,000 to the Receiver General for “ineligible” donations to his last campaign.

Penashue won Labrador for the Conservative Party beating incumbent Todd Russell with a margin of less than 1% of the popular vote. Liberals are now inevitably making the claim the seat was stolen now that Penashue has acknowledged the scandal.

Minister Denis Lebel will take over Penashue’s cabinet responsibilities as the interim intergovernmental affairs minister.

Here are the poll-by-poll breakdowns of Labrador in 2011. You can explore these results here.

Here is Penashue’s full statement:

“Due to mistakes that were made by an inexperienced volunteer in filing the Elections Canada return from the last campaign, I appointed a new Official Agent to work with Elections Canada to make any needed amendments to my campaign return.
During the examination we became aware that there were ineligible donations accepted by the former Official Agent.
Although I was unaware of the inaccuracies in the return, I believe I must be accountable to the people who elected me and therefore I am stepping down as the Member of Parliament for Labrador and will seek re-election through a by-election. I will also be stepping down as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
My record as Member of Parliament for Labrador and Minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government over the past two years is one that I am very proud of.
I have worked to secure federal support for the development of Muskrat Falls, which will lead to $1.9 billion for our economy and thousands of jobs for Labrador. I have also worked with government and private industry to increase internet speed in Labrador, and delivered federal funding to pave the Trans-Labrador Highway.
There is much more to do for the people of Labrador, including protecting our way of life. We have scrapped the long-gun registry despite the efforts of the NDP and Liberals to keep it, and now we must continue to fight to defend the seal hunt against the NDP and Liberal parliamentarians who want to ban it. I will also continue to lead the defence of the polar bear hunt, something that is very important to Labradorians.

And the statement from the Prime Minister,

“The Honourable Minister Denis Lebel, currently the Minister responsible for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, will assume responsibility for Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
“Minister Lebel is now also responsible for the overall management and coherence of relations with provincial and territorial governments and for strengthening Canadian unity.”
“I would like to thank Mr. Penashue for his service as Minister and to the people of Labrador.”



  • Don Morris

    the man has integrity, hope he wins the byelection.

  • B Cummings

    Pretty poor showing. Deflecting responsibility by blaming an “inexperienced volunteer”. The man is caught violating elections rules and his punishment is: the chance to try it again?
    There is no evidence of integrity anywhere in Penashue’s story.

  • Fred

    I remember John Baird waxing eloquent about ministerial responsibility and refusing to have his staff appear as witnesses at H of C hearings. To bad Baird is laying low and not telling his buddy to man up. Passing the buck to your subordinate is for losers.

  • Fred

    He broke the law. Why do Tories stop being the law and order party when their own have broken the law.

  • kenn2

    Penashue is just taking the fall. The CPC election machine, like a fish, rots from the head.

  • Don Morris

    I guess I should have said “sarc”.

  • Brenda2600

    I wonder when Marc Garneau will step down as MP for the robocalls he illegally sent recently. He has admitted that it was a young volunteer that did not know the rules!!!

  • Mfg Brown

    Yep…I was promised that they would govern differently, I bought into it for two elections…who in hell is there left with any integrirt to vote for?

  • kenn2

    There is no evidence of integrity anywhere in Penashue’s story party.


  • GabbyInQC

    It would be nice if Elections Canada applied their rules and regulations, whatever those are, equally to all parties and that the media coverage given to those infractions would be as extensive for all contraveners of those rules & regulations. [MARCH 14, 2013]
    “Four NDP leadership contenders still paying off debt a year after Mulcair’s victory …

    Leadership contest debt isn’t just a problem for the NDP. Democracy Watch filed a complaint with Elections Canada earlier this month regarding candidates in the ongoing Liberal leadership race. The organization argues contestants that have loaned themselves money are violating the Elections Canada Act as a loan to oneself is akin to a donation and donations are restricted to a $1,200 maximum.

    It’s an issue that’s not new and even came up during the NDP leadership race with Singh’s large personal loan.

    Leadership candidates have 18 months after a race to clear their debts, according to Elections Canada, which can grant an extension beyond that. Candidates who still can’t pay must then go to court to seek an extension or face fines or jail time.

    Several Liberal leadership candidates from the 2006 race still have debt outstanding. Previous contestants, such as Martha Hall Findlay, who wanted to enter this latest race, had to clear their old debts beforehand. …”

    True, I’m quoting a media report yet I’m complaining about not enough coverage of some cases. My point is that ALL infractions should get the same media attention.