WDBA Board Chair Dwight Duncan, November 10, 2016. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Head Of Bridge Authority Apologizes For Facebook Posts

Dwight Duncan, the chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, is apologizing for Facebook postings that criticize U.S. President Donald Trump, members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and the federal Conservative Party.

Before his appointment as chair of the authority, Duncan had a long career as a Liberal MPP serving as finance minister, and energy minister twice. He retired from politics in February 2013 and took a position at Toronto law firm MacMillan LLP.

In a letter to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi, Duncan writes that he has reviewed more than 300 postings made since his appointment as interim chair of the massive border project and has deleted a number of them.

“I wish to unreservedly apologize to you, and through you, to Parliament,” writes Duncan. “At the time of my appointment, I was made aware of the rules and expectations of all of us who have the privilege of serving in these posts.”

President and CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Michael Cautillo (right) and WDBA Chair of the Board Dwight Duncan (left) at the WDBA Annual Public Meeting, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

President and CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Michael Cautillo (right) and WDBA Chair of the Board Dwight Duncan (left) at the WDBA Annual Public Meeting, April 28, 2017. (Photo by Mike Vlasveld)

The posts have prompted calls for his resignation from Progressive Conservative transportation critic Michael Harris and Windsor West MP Brian Masse. They argue Duncan violated rules demanding non-partisanship and had used his position as a platform to spread his own Liberal message.

Masse says the posts “are probably something that will remain a cloud should a resignation not take place.”

He says by criticizing Trump and proclaiming his support for the prime minister, Duncan has underlined his past as a Liberal “hardliner” and the comments “make people terribly uncomfortable.”

“Duncan’s priority should be to get this bridge built,” proclaims Harris. “Businesses in Ontario have already been waiting too long for this project, they can’t afford another delay.”

Duncan calls the posts on social media “an obvious lapse in judgement” and says he has taken steps to ensure he does not contravene the non-partisanship policy further.

“For many years, I contributed financially to the Liberal Party of Canada through the Laurier Club and to individual riding associations,” he says. “My last contribution to the Laurier Club was made in the spring of 2016 prior to my permanent appointment. I have not served in any formal capacity with the Liberal Party of Canada or any of its provincial affiliates or riding associations for many years… I have not attended any Liberal Party of Canada conventions, meetings, or fundraisers at the National, Provincial or local levels since my appointment.

“Further, since my appointment, I have remained a financial contributor to the Ontario Liberal Party. It was my understanding at the time of that appointment that this was not captured by Parliament’s rules. That being said, I will cease those contributions immediately.”

Duncan was appointed the interim chair of the bridge authority in December 2015 and accepted the position permanently a month later.

He is paid between $6,400 and $7,500 a year for the part-time position.

BlackburnNews.com has contacted the bridge authority for comment but has not received a reply.