Bill Morneau has resigned from his position as Canada’s finance minister and as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre shortly after meeting behind closed doors with the prime minister.
Prior to today’s press conference, Morneau met with Trudeau for a private closed door meeting.
According to Trudeau’s official statement on the matter, Morneau will seek to be the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) next Secretary General.
“Today, Bill has announced that he will put forward his name as a candidate to be the next Secretary General of the OECD. Canada will vigorously support his bid to lead this important global institution that will play a critical role in the global economic recovery,” said Trudeau.
The news of Morneau’s fate comes after speculation that he was in conflict with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following their combined involvement in the WE Charity scandal.
Morneau and Trudeau were both implicated when reports emerged that the federal government awarded a sole-sourced contract worth $912 million to the organization despite personal ties with WE.
According to the Globe and Mail, Morneau and the prime minister butt heads following his testimony before the finance committee on his involvement with WE. During his testimony, Morneau admitted that he had paid back WE $41,000 in reimbursements for free travel to himself and his family in 2017.
The Globe story also alleged that the pair did not see eye to eye on the plan forward for Canada’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, the prime minister’s office replied to speculation regarding Morneau’s standing within the Liberal cabinet by saying that Trudeau still had full confidence in his finance minister.
“Of course the prime minister has full confidence in Minister Morneau and any statement to the contrary is false. 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,” PMO spokesperson Alex Wellstead said.
During his press conference, Morneau told reporters that he “had a constructive conversation the prime minister” prior to his resignation.
“I firmly believe that more Canadians from all walks of life are closer today to achieving their dreams than when we took office,” said Morneau.
“We have always said that the world needed more Canada, not less.”