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May calls for Porter’s removal from Privy Council; Caribbean health care centre removes him

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, chats with Dr. Arthur Porter, left, at the Montreal General hospital in Montreal Friday Nov.24, 2006.

Ryan Remiorz/CP

Arthur Porter has been replaced as the man in charge of a long-delayed, multimillion-dollar Caribbean cancer centre over concerns about his health and the allegations of fraud he faces in Canada.

The controversial former head of Canada's spy watchdog is caught up in a number of allegations swirling around a billion-dollar Montreal mega-hospital development.

The Canadian government is now trying to extradite Porter — a medical doctor who has been self-diagnosed with cancer — from the Bahamas.

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Those troubles precipitated Porter's departure this week from the $5-million Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean project being built in the Antigua and Barbuda capital of St. John's. One of Porter's associates will take over the project.

Porter is among the five people named in arrest warrants issued by Quebec's anti-corruption squad in the McGill hospital case.

In Ottawa, Green party Leader Elizabeth May is calling on the Prime Minister to strip Porter of his privy councillor status.

Five years ago the Conservatives appointed Porter to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which keeps an eye on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and investigates complaints about CSIS.

Committee members are sworn to the Privy Council, meaning they must swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and promise to keep confidential matters secret.

Porter became chairman of the committee in 2010 but quit abruptly the following year amid questions about his private business dealings.

May says Porter's removal from the Privy Council is warranted, given the government's apparent lapse in judgment in making the appointment in the first place.

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