By: Laura Steiner, Reporter/ Editor
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has resigned. He made the announcement in a press conference last night.
“Today I spoke with Bill Morneau and accepted his resignation. Since he was first elected and became Canada’s Finance Minister nearly five years ago, Bill has worked relentlessly to support all Canadians and create a resilient, fair economy that benefits everyone,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement released last evening.
Morneau won re-election in his Toronto Centre riding in the 2019 federal election. He was reappointed Finance Minister. “Bill played a central role in transformational projects like the enhancement of the Canada Pension Plan and the creation of the Canada Child Benefit, which are improving the lives of millions of families,” Trudeau said. Morneau was also at the forefront of Canada’s handling of the COVID-19 situation with creation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Benefit (CEWS).
Morneau was involved in several controversies including one where he forgot to disclose that he owned a private corporation that owns a villa in Southern France. He was lately linked to the Liberals’ WE scandal, after he testified before a committee that he’d forgotten to pay for a $41,000 trip to the charity’s interests in Kenya. One of his daughters’ work for the charity. The scandal arose when it was found out that neither Morneau, nor Trudeau recused themselves from a decision involving the charity receiving a contract to look after the Canada Secondary Student Grant. This placed both in a potential conflict-of-interest situation.
Morneau will also step down as a Member of Parliament for his Toronto Centre riding. He will be the second Toronto area MP to resign his seat in recent months. Unconfirmed reports have Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland taking over as Finance Minister. New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc is expected to be named Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. Freeland would be Canada’s first female Finance Minister.
Trudeau to Prorogue Parliament
Trudeau is also expected to prorogue Parliament until October. The CBC reports he intends to hold a cabinet retreat next month, and begin the new session with a throne speech. He needs the permission of Governor-General Julie Payette to do so.
Bloc Quebecios Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has demanded the resignations of Morneau, Trudeau, and Trudeau’s Chief-of-Staff Katie Telford as part of the WE controversy. Blanchet has already said he would vote against the throne speech.