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Bill Morneau, Federal Minister of Finance, Resigns

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Shake Up The Establishment is a non-partisan, youth-led organization that takes a human rights-based approach to addressing the climate crisis and environmental degradation. All of SUTE's volunteers are passionate about environmental justice and use this platform as a way to amplify BIPOC voices and spread knowledge to reduce the social inequities that currently persist in what is presently Canada. SUTE member's do not speak on behalf of BIPOC communities, but remain committed to addressing the disproportionate effects of the climate crisis through upholding political accountability and disseminating resources related to these social injustices. Political representation is important to follow to stay updated on environmental decisions and funding. This post is an update on political representation in the Ministry of Finance, representing a notable change in the federal government.

This post was written by Max Christie on Treaty 7 territory: the ancestral homeland of the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuu T'ina First Nation, and Stoney Nakoda First Nation.

Today, Bill Morneau announced that he is resigning as Minister of Finance and as the MP for Toronto Centre (1). The resignation comes a little over a month after an ethics investigation was launched into conflicts of interest that Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had regarding WE Charity: an organization that was tasked with administering the $900 million dollar Canada Student Service Grant (2). Morneau was first elected to Toronto Centre in 2015 and was named Minister of Finance shortly thereafter (3).

Opposition parties have been calling on Morneau to resign since July 22nd, when the (now former) minister testified that he had only repaid $41,366 worth of travel expenses originally covered by WE that morning (4). However, the Government and the Liberal Party both originally stood by Morneau (4). It is thought that Morneau’s resignation came about as a result of a disagreement with the Prime Minister regarding Covid-19 relief spending, where it was reported that Morneau and his colleagues at the Finance Department had been hesitant about the massive federal deficit (predicted at $343.2 billion dollars (5)) that was required for relief spending as well as environmental projects that the Prime Minister is prioritizing in that spending (6). However, Morneau himself said that the Prime Minister did not fire him and that his resignation was entirely voluntary (1).

Morneau has now declared his candidacy to become Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is fully supported by the Prime Minister (1).


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