Bill Morneau resigns as Finance Minister amid WE charity scandal

There have been reports Morneau and Prime Minister Trudeau were at odds over pandemic spending

With rumours swirling in Ottawa there had been a falling out between Bill Morneau and Justin Trudeau, the prime minister late Monday found himself needing a new finance minister.

Morneau announced his resignation at an evening press conference. His exit comes amid the WE Charity scandal which he became engulfed in over reports Morneau had accepted gifts from the organization. He said he would give up his cabinet seat and would not seek re-election in the riding of Toronto Centre. Morneau did confirm he will seek to become secretary general of the OECD.

Trudeau’s office issued a statement early last week that the prime minister had “full confidence” in Moreneau. This came as rumours swirled Moreneau and Trudeau were on opposite sides of the fence over pandemic spending, and on issues about the environment.

But the WE Charity scandal that snared the prime minister in yet another investigation by Canada’s ethics commissioner, also dragged in Moreneau, who now is the subject of a probe by the ethics watchdog.

Moreneau’s cut a cheque for $41,000 after it was learned WE Charity paid for two trips his family members took to Africa and South America, including a journey he took by himself. Morneau paid back the money and said he had made an “error” and had intended to cover the cost of the trips.

The Trudeau government became engulfed in scandal when a contract worth millions of dollars was given to WE Charity despite the organization’s family connections to the prime minister and Moreneau. The decision process around granting the contract is what the ethics watchdog is probing.

Moreneau’s resignation also comes on the heels of recent news that Trudeau was being advised on the post-pandemic economic recovery by Mark Carney, a former governor of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England.