Canada fi­nance min­is­ter an­nounces res­ig­na­tion

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - OT­TAWA -AFP

Canada's fi­nance min­is­ter Bill Morneau an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion Mon­day, on the heels of an ethics scan­dal and amid a re­ported split with Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau over pan­demic spend­ing.

Morneau, who has held the post since 2015, told a news con­fer­ence that he met with Trudeau to in­form him that he would not run in the next elec­tion, and that a new fi­nance min­is­ter with a long-term out­look was needed.

"As we move to the next phase of our fight against the pan­demic and pave the road to­wards eco­nomic re­cov­ery, we must rec­og­nize that this process will take many years, it's the right time for a new fi­nance min­is­ter to de­liver on that plan for the long and chal­leng­ing road ahead," Morneau said.

"That's why I'll be step­ping down as fi­nance min­is­ter, and as mem­ber of Par­lia­ment," he stated. Morneau said he would now run for the job of sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment (OECD).

For the past week, Cana­dian me­dia have re­ported on a pur­ported rift emerg­ing be­tween Morneau and Trudeau on how to re­boot the Cana­dian econ­omy weak­ened by the new coro­n­avirus pan­demic, as the govern­ment bud­get deficit soared to more than Can$340 bil­lion (US$257 bil­lion).

Canada's ethics com­mis­sioner also launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the min­is­ter's ties to a char­ity tapped by Ot­tawa to dis­trib­ute pan­demic aid to young Cana­di­ans.

Trudeau is also be­ing probed over his fam­ily ties to the WE Char­ity, which paid his wife, brother and mother nearly

Can$300,000 for speak­ing en­gage­ments in re­cent years. The prime min­is­ter apol­o­gized last month for the af­fair, say­ing he made a mis­take in not re­cus­ing him­self from dis­cus­sions about award­ing the roughly Can$500 mil­lion con­tract to dis­trib­ute stu­dent schol­ar­ship funds to WE Char­ity.

The pro­gram has been can­celled but the con­tro­versy re­mains. Op­po­si­tion par­ties had called for Morneau to re­sign after he re­vealed that he had only re­cently paid back more than Can$41,000 in travel ex­penses to the char­ity, and that one of his daugh­ters works for WE Char­ity while a se­cond daugh­ter vol­un­teered for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The re­im­burse­ment check was meant to cover ex­penses in­curred by the char­ity over two hu­man­i­tar­ian trips he and his fam­ily took in 2017. The scan­dal has dam­aged Trudeau's mi­nor­ity govern­ment in public opin­ion polls, but his Lib­eral party is still po­si­tioned well for an early elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to re­cent polls.

The Con­ser­va­tives and New Democrats on Mon­day said Morneau's de­par­ture was a sign of a govern­ment "in chaos" and that the for­mer busi­ness­man was be­ing made a scape­goat. "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," Tory leader An­drew Scheer said in a Twit­ter mes­sage.

The fi­nance post is one of the most im­por­tant in govern­ment as the coun­try goes through the most se­ri­ous eco­nomic cri­sis since World War II. In a state­ment, Trudeau thanked Morneau for his tire­less work to "cre­ate a re­silient, fair econ­omy that ben­e­fits every­one."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.