Joe Oliver 'An Embarrassment' As Finance Minister, Tom Mulcair Says

Posted: Updated:

New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair says newly appointed Finance Minister Joe Oliver is an embarrassing choice to represent Canada because of his views on climate change.

"He has denied global warming as a scientific reality," Mulcair said at a news conference in London, Ont. 

"And as one of the chiefs in British Columbia who was the object of his invective said, his attacks on First Nations go beyond mere paternalism. They're tinted by racism.

"Joe Oliver is an embarrassing nomination as finance minister for a G7 country," Mulcair said, adding that Oliver's "information on global warming has consistently proven to be fanciful."

Oliver is leaving the natural resources portfolio to take over the finance ministry from Jim Flaherty. Flaherty resigned from cabinet yesterday, indicating he will eventually take a job in the private sector. Flaherty will remain an MP for the time being, his spokesman told CBC News.

Oliver had suggested he would speak to reporters after his swearing-in, but instead said only a few words as he climbed into a waiting car.

'Secret swearing-in'

Mulcair said he found the "secret swearing-in ceremony" amusing.

"It's like a cult that he's just become a member of. If they're proud of Joe Oliver as minister of finance, why in heaven's name wasn't the media allowed to attend the ceremony? I do think it's a sign that they're not even sure of their own appointment, frankly," Mulcair said.

Oliver has a law degree from McGill and a Harvard MBA. He worked in the investment banking industry and served as executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Rickford, the MP for Kenora, Ont., moved to natural resources from minister of state for science and technology. He has also been parliamentary secretary to the minister of aboriginal affairs.

Oliver often clashed with environmental groups and others who opposed expanded oil and gas development, famously calling them radicals.

Mulcair said he wishes Rickford well.

"Let's hope that Mr. Rickford can correct some of the things that Joe Oliver's been getting wrong," he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at Rideau Hall for the swearing-in, for which no press release was issued. Harper was hidden from reporters and photographers as he entered and exited Rideau Hall.

Also on HuffPost:

Flaherty Resigns, Twitter Reacts
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Tom Mulcair, Joe Oliver battle over energy policy - Politics - CBC News

'Rip and ship' no way to develop resources, Tom Mulcair says | CTV ...

'I'm not going to be told to sit down': Mulcair accuses Speaker of bias ...

Alison Redford questions Thomas Mulcair's oil-sands comments ...

Joe Oliver Named Canada's New Finance Minister - ABC News

Canada confirms veteran banker Joe Oliver as finance minister

Joe Oliver sworn in as Canada's new finance minister

Toronto MP Joe Oliver officially sworn in as finance minister

The Joe Oliver I first met 30 years ago on Bay Street

New Finance Minister Oliver's move sparks mini cabinet shuffle

Toronto MP Joe Oliver to replace Flaherty as Canada's finance minister