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North Island MP Duncan steps down as cabinet minister

North Vancouver Island MP John Duncan has resigned as minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement:

“Today, I have accepted the resignation of John Duncan as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

“I would like to thank Mr. Duncan for his many contributions as Minister and for his service to the people of Canada. Mr. Duncan will continue to serve as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North in the House of Commons.

“The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, will serve as the acting Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development until a new Minister is named.”

Duncan later issued a statement on his resignation.

He noted a character reference letter to the Tax Court of Canada, which he wrote in June, 2011 on behalf of an individual his constituency staff was helping with casework on a Canada Revenue Agency matter.

"While the letter was written with honourable intentions, I realize that it was not appropriate for me, as a Minister of the Crown, to write to the Tax Court. I have therefore offered my resignation as minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development...

"I take full responsibility for my actions and the consequences they have brought," Duncan said in the statement.

"It has been an honour to serve in the cabinet and I thank the prime minister for placing his confidence in me on this most important file. I have every confidence that the government will reach its goal of improving the lives of aboriginal peoples across our country.

"I pledge that I will continue to work hard on behalf of the constituents of Vancouver Island North as their elected representative in Ottawa."

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