(Ottawa) By announcing his resignation on August 17, 2020, former Treasury Secretary Bill Morneau justified his decision by saying he would not be a candidate in the federal election called by Justin Trudeau a year later.
Posted at 9:00 am
He said he wanted to give his boss a chance to appoint a new person to head this key ministry in Ottawa and mentioned his intention to run for Secretary-General of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – a position he did not do. In the end it did not happen. Explanations that seemed sewn with white thread at the time.
He also gave a reassuring speech. Above all, he sought to reduce the differences between him and the prime minister over the size of the stimulus package needed to get the Canadian economy back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic made headlines.
“I know that with this liberal government, Canadians are in good hands,” he said.
Nearly two years later, Bill Morneau gave a completely different speech. The country’s former grand treasurer, in a nearly twenty-minute speech in front of the CD Howe Institute, on Wednesday evening, emptied his heart.
According to him, Trudeau’s government cares more about image than substance when it comes to developing and implementing economic policies. Moreover, the Trudeau government devotes a lot of effort to redistributing the country’s wealth and little time to its creation.
Mr. Morneau said in his powerful speech.
Much time and effort has been spent finding ways to redistribute wealth in Canada, and little attention has been paid to the importance of increasing our collective prosperity.
Another powerful paragraph from his plea: “There’s really no sense of urgency in Ottawa regarding our lack of competitiveness. It’s as if we’re the proverbial frog of fate, not realizing what’s happening to us as the heat goes up.”
He lamented that the report by the Economic Growth Advisory Board, chaired by Dominic Barton, had been gathering dust since 2016.
Recommendations, even those that were excellent and could and should be implemented, became politicized. The net result is entirely predictable. I have fought to get our government focused on the need for sustainable economic growth. All of that was constantly overlooked because of other things that seemed more politically urgent, even if they weren’t really that important. »
Such a speech from the former Minister of Finance does not leave anyone indifferent. The English-speaking press celebrated Bill Morneau’s accusation. Bay Street, which claims to have not heard much from the Trudeau government for a few years, believes the ex-minister said out loud what businessmen have been quietly saying for years.
Among the liberals, this speech was received with a certain astonishment. The timing of this outing also raised eyebrows. “He didn’t go with the back of a spoon. But this is Bill!”, dropped a liberal source who asked not to be named. He was kicked out of the Cabinet so gracefully that I don’t think anyone in the Prime Minister’s office would be surprised that he decided to withdraw.” But he clearly does not like Chrystia Freeland. »
Bill Morneau is not the first big winner to judge harshly the policies of his previous government after he fired the prime minister. In the 1970s, John Turner left politics after a disagreement with Pierre Trudeau over budget issues. He later returned to take over the Liberal Party leadership in 1984 following the departure of Mr. Trudeau. In 2002, Jean Chretien Paul Martin was expelled from the Cabinet after several years as Finance Minister because he was in a hurry to succeed him. He remained a private liberal MP, eventually becoming party leader and becoming prime minister in 2003.
Does Bill Morneau intend to follow in the footsteps of John Turner and Paul Martin by returning to politics one day? “That would be cool! Bill Morneau never liked to be in politics,” recalls a liberal source.
But if he does, he will find Chrystia Freeland on his way, the person who replaced him at the head of the Ministry of Finance.
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