WE Charity: Canadian PM Trudeau backs up finance minister Morneau despite controversy
Speculation over Morneau’s departure gained traction after a report in the national daily, Globe & Mail, which cited clashes with Trudeau over economic measures taken to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.Updated: Aug 12, 2020 15:05 IST
In an unusual move, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a strong statement in support of embattled Finance Minister Bill Morneau, while rebutting media reports that the latter was going to be removed from the Cabinet in an imminent reshuffle.
A statement from a PMO spokesperson was categorical in backing Morneau, as it read, “Of course the Prime Minister has full confidence in Minister Morneau and any statement to the contrary is false.”
Speculation over Morneau’s departure gained traction after a report in the national daily, Globe & Mail, which cited clashes with Trudeau over economic measures taken to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as among the reasons for the possible change. However, the PMO statement said, “The Prime Minister knows that Minister Morneau and the entire team of Cabinet ministers will keep doing the work that Canadians rely on to get them through this pandemic.”
Like Trudeau, Morneau has also been embroiled in the scandal over a nearly billion dollar contract given to a charity with close links to them. Both are also facing investigations by Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in this context, while also being probed by Parliamentary panels.
Rumours of Morneau’s ouster gained ground after the return to the country of former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney as an informal advisor to the Prime Minister on the economic aspect of the coronavirus crisis and recovery from the adversity caused by precautionary restrictions. Carney, who was till recently Governor of the Bank of England, was cited as a potential replacement for Morneau.
However, the statement from the PMO was lavish in its praise for Morneau as it said the Finance Minister had “worked relentlessly” and “closely with the Prime Minister” to build a “strong and resilient” Canadian economy. “That work has continued throughout the global pandemic,” the statement said, listing out measures including wage subsidies and doles announced during the crisis. It went on to say that Morneau “is continuing this important work.” The Finance Minister has also denied that he is planning to resign. Morneau has been in that post since Trudeau first came to power in 2015.