OTTAWA – Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s credibility has come under attack for his decision not to put his substantial assets in a blind trust after he was named to cabinet in November 2015.
The federal ethics watchdog says she advised Morneau there was no need to put his assets in a blind trust.
Mary Dawson says that since the former businessman’s shares are held through a private holding company — and not directly controlled Morneau — he didn’t technically need to divest or put them in a blind trust.
With so many questions about Morneau’s assets, here are five things that we know about his wealth:
1) Records show that before the 2015 election Morneau held nearly 2.07 million common shares in Morneau Shepell through the Alberta numbered company, 1193536 Alberta Ltd. There is no public data about his current holdings in the company. At their current value of just over $20 per share, those holdings would be worth more than $40 million.
2) Morneau Shepell shares currently pay monthly dividends of 6.5 cents per share. Therefore those holdings would pay him dividends of about $135,000 per month.
3) In his public filings with the ethics commissioner, Morneau has included the Morneau McCain Family Trust as an asset. He is married to Nancy McCain of the wealthy family behind the massive french-fry maker McCain Foods Ltd. He has also disclosed that he is a potential beneficiary of the Nancy McCain 2013 Family Trust. In addition, McCain herself is the sole owner of an investment holding company.
4) Late last month, Morneau disclosed that he and McCain are joint owners of a private company that owns a family villa in France. He had previously disclosed ownership of the villa but only disclosed the involvement of the company after the CBC made inquiries about it to his office. He is listed as the director of SCI MAS DES Morneau, which is a non-commercial real estate holding company in Avignon, France.
5) Morneau has also disclosed several other real estate holding firms, many of them numbered companies in Ontario. A few of them are jointly owned with four of his siblings.