Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigns, plans to run for head of OECD

OTTAWA — Bill Morneau is resigning as the federal minister of finance and a Liberal MP.

Morneau says he is putting his name forward as a candidate to be the next secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he accepted Morneau’s resignation earlier Monday and that Canada would “vigorously support” his efforts to take on the new role.

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announces his resignation during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Morneau has been finance minister since 2015, when the Liberals returned to power.

For several weeks, opposition parties have been calling for Morneau’s resignation over allegations that he had a conflict of interest in the WE Charity affair.

Morneau and Trudeau are both facing investigations by the federal ethics watchdog.

The recent news that Mark Carney, a former governor of both the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, is helping to advise Trudeau on the post-pandemic economic recovery fuelled speculation that Morneau was about to be replaced. 

Last week, Trudeau tried to shut down speculation that his finance minister was on the way out, taking the unusual step of issuing a statement to say he had full confidence in Morneau and that reports of policy clashes between them were false.

On Monday, Trudeau’s statement also highlighted the way they had worked together, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every step of the way, Bill and I have worked closely together, along with our team of cabinet ministers and caucus members to help Canadians navigate this challenging time,” Trudeau said.

“Our number one priority has been supporting Canadian families and businesses the best and fastest way possible. Thanks to his unwavering leadership and commitment to service through the pandemic, our government has laid the groundwork for a strong economic recovery.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press