WDBA chair admits and apologizes for partisan attacks against federal Conservatives, Donald Trump

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On June 17, 2017, WDBA hosted its second Walkabout on the Canadian Port of Entry site. More than 275 people attended the event to see first hand the construction activities underway and to learn about the next steps. Construction-themed activities were also available for the kids. (WDBA Facebook site)

Dwight Duncan, chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) overseeing construction of a new $4.8-billion bridge between Windsor and Detroit, has issued an apology for using social media to level partisan attacks at federal Conservatives and U.S. President Donald Trump.

In a lengthy letter to Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi that he posted on Facebook, Duncan said his actions as chair of the WDBA were disrespectful and showed “an obvious lapse in judgment,” the Globe and Mail has reported.

Duncan, a former Ontario finance minister, acknowledged he violated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rules for public office holders, which require heads of government agencies and Crown corporations to refrain from “expressing partisan views” – rules that he said he had read.

“A number of my postings clearly violated the letter and spirit of Parliament’s direction to Governor-in-Council appointees respecting partisan involvement while serving. Those postings have been or are being deleted today,” he wrote. “I wish to unreservedly apologize to you, and through you to Parliament.”

He also revealed that he had made political donations to the federal Liberal Party while he served as interim chair before the position was made permanent, but stopped the contributions last spring.

The WBDA is overseeing construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, Canada’s largest public infrastructure project and is at the busiest commercial crossing on the Canada-U.S. border.

Duncan also said he had continued to donate to the Ontario Liberal Party since his appointment.

“I will cease those contributions immediately in order to respect the spirit of the government and Parliament’s intent,” he said. “I deeply regret the lack of respect shown to Parliament as a result of my actions.”

Sohi defended Duncan in a House of Commons statement. “He brings a considerable amount of experience to this important position as a result of his diverse career accomplishments both in the private sector and in the public sector,” Sohi said. “He has apologized for his comments and I accept his apology.”

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