Bill Morneau: Canada finance minister quits amid charity probe

Morneau and Trudeau
Both Mr Morneau and Mr Trudeau have faced criticism for their involvement with WE Charity (Image: Reuters)

Canada’s finance minister has said he will resign after conflict-of-interest allegations involving WE Charity.

Bill Morneau has faced pressure to step down after it was revealed he did not repay travel costs covered by WE while on overseas trips to see its work.

He said he recently realised he had not repaid the C$41,000 in expenses and has since written a cheque.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also facing scrutiny for his and his family’s involvement with the charity.

Mr Morneau said he will step down from his position in the Liberal party cabinet and his role as member of parliament for his Ontario riding, Toronto Centre.

Addressing the media on Monday, Mr Morneau said he was no longer the “appropriate person” for his role in Mr Trudeau’s cabinet, but said the WE scandal did not prompt his decision to resign.

“I met with the prime minister today to inform him that I did not plan to run again in the next election,” he told reporters. “It has never been my plan to run for more than two federal election cycles.”

The finance minister said his successor should have a “longer term perspective” as Canada tackles its economic recovery amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Morneau has served in the Trudeau government since the prime minister was first elected in 2015.

In a statement, Mr Trudeau thanked Mr Morneau for his “unwavering leadership and commitment to service” as well as his “advice, and close friendship” throughout his tenure.

It was reported last week that Mr Trudeau had asked former Bank of England and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney to be an informal adviser on the Covid-19 recovery plan.

Mr Carney has previously been touted as a future Liberal party leadership contender.

Meetings between Mr Carney and the prime minister fuelled reports that Mr Trudeau had plans to fire Mr Morneau.

But Mr Morneau on Monday refuted such speculation, denying that Mr Trudeau had asked him to resign.

Canada’s finance minister says he has plans to put in a bid to be the next secretary general for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a move he says is supported by the prime minister.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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