Chrystia Freeland Is the Finance Minister

Freeland replaces Bill Morneau who resigned amidst multiple reports of a rift with the PM

Ruth Saldanha 18 August, 2020 | 8:44AM

Chrystia Freeland

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has replaced Bill Morneau as Canada’s finance minister. She is Canada's first female finance minister.

Last evening, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced his resignation from both his position as Canada’s finance minister and from his seat in parliament for Toronto Centre.

His resignation comes after multiple media reports of tensions between him and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Morneau served as the only Finance Minister in Trudeau’s Liberal government.

In a press conference last evening, Morneau said he had never planned to run in more than two elections. He added that the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic would take several years, and so, another finance minister would be needed.

Morneau intends to put his name forward as the next secretary general for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD.) The Prime Minister issued a statement on the resignation, saying, he accepted the resignation, and supported his bid to lead the OECD.

Tensions Abound
Morneau’s resignation comes at a time when Canada is slowly reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown. Media reports indicate that Morneau and Trudeau differed in their opinions on the emergency pandemic spending, and on how much more the government should spend from here on. 

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that Trudeau informally consulted with former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney, as he plans the next steps in the economic recovery, which seemed to indicate a further rift between Morneau and the Prime Minister.

The two leading figures in the Canadian government were also involved in a very public ethics scandal around the WE Charity. When asked specifically about his role in the WE Charity scandal, Morneau said, “I wish we had done things differently.”

He specifically said that Trudeau did not ask him to resign.  At the press conference, Morneau was asked about Carney advising the Prime Minister. In response, he said, “There’s a time when you’re the appropriate person in the role, and a time when you’re not”.

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Ruth Saldanha

Ruth Saldanha  Ruth Saldanha is Senior Editor at Morningstar.ca

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