Finance Minister Bill Morneau decides to resign
BY: Masuda Mahazabin
Earlier this week, during a press conference held in Ottawa, Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced his resignation from his position as Finance Minister and as MP. During the press conference Morneau revealed that he never planned to run for more than two federal election cycles and that he plans on taking up the position of the secretary-general for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED).
Opposition parties have called for Morneau’s resignation over allegations that he had a conflict of interest with the WE Charity. Morneau and Trudeau are both under investigations by the federal ethics commissioner for their plan to outsource a $912 million student volunteer program. Both Morneau and Trudeau are known to have close familial ties to the charity. Prime Minister Trudeau has made multiple appearances and has spoken at a number of events for the organization. The charity has confirmed to have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in speaking fees to his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, his mother, Margaret Trudeau, and his brother Alexandre Trudeau. As for Morneau, one of his daughters has spoken at several events, while another works for the organization, and his wife has donated $100,000.
Yet it came to the publics’ attention earlier this month when Morneau revealed to the finance committee that he had to reimburse WE $41,000 in expenses for vacation trips that he and his family took back in 2017. Both men have expressed remorse and apologized for not recusing themselves from discussions. However, Trudeau claims that he was not in a position of conflict but rather a perception of conflict. He elaborates by saying “The concerns about the personal connections my family had were all around perception, delivering a grant program to students who volunteer across the country has absolutely nothing to do with any work my brother or mother did with WE, and that's why there was no conflict of interest.”
As a result, opposition parties have viewed Morneau’s departure from office as an opportunity to call out Trudeau’s government. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh have taken it to Twitter to express their views on the current state of Trudeau’s government.
“Bill Morneau’s “resignation” is further proof of a government in chaos. At a time when Canadians are worried about their health and their finances, Justin Trudeau’s government is so consumed by scandal that Trudeau has amputated his right hand to try and save himself.” said Scheer via Twitter.
Over Twitter, Singh also goes on to say “Canadians need a government that is focussed on helping them. Not on their own scandals. In the middle of a financial crisis, Justin Trudeau has lost his Finance Minister. Every time he gets caught breaking ethics laws, he makes someone else take the heat. That's not leadership.”
Despite clashing with Trudeau over numerous COVID-19 pandemic economic policies, Morneau insists that Trudeau didn’t ask him to step down from his cabinet role and that it was solely his decision to resign. It is now in the hands of Trudeau to find a suitable Finance Minister during this ongoing pandemic.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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