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Blind trust 'not required'

The federal ethics watchdog confirmed Tuesday that she advised Finance Minister Bill Morneau there was no need to put his substantial assets in a blind trust.

"I told him that it wasn't required," ethics commissioner Mary Dawson said, although she acknowledged it was ultimately up to Morneau to choose how to handle his affairs.

"I took a look at what he disclosed and according to what was disclosed, and which I do for anybody, I make a judgment as to what's necessary."

Dawson later told CTV News that Morneau's shares are controlled by a private corporation and not directly controlled by the finance minister. She said he didn't technically need to divest or put the shares in a blind trust.

“He doesn’t hold them, the corporation holds them, that’s the legal entity,” Dawson told the network in an interview.

However, CTV also reported late Tuesday that it has learned Morneau continues to own shares in his family's business Morneau Shepell through a corporate structure that keeps him from having to divest or put his shares in a blind trust.

Dawson's confirmation came amid a continuing furor over Morneau's personal financial arrangements, which have combined with the angry backlash to his small business tax reform proposals to leave his credibility in tatters.

So politically damaged has Morneau become that he was even asked Tuesday if the escalating ethics controversy has him reconsidering his career in politics.

"Absolutely not," he said in French after an event in Montreal.

"I know that we still have things to do and, for me, I have a great privilege to have the opportunity to be with a team that will do very important things for people here, for the rest of our country. I would like to continue with this work."



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