Former federal finance minister Bill Morneau says that when it came to COVID-19 pandemic aid policy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the top advisors in his office favoured 'scoring political points' over policy rationales, leading to him feeling like a 'rubber stamp' ahead of his 'inevitable' resignation.
Former federal finance minister Bill Morneau says that when it came to COVID-19 pandemic aid policy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the top advisors in his office favoured "scoring political points" over policy rationales, leading to him feeling like a "rubber stamp" ahead of his "inevitable" resignation.
“My job of providing counsel and direction where fiscal matters were concerned had deteriorated into serving as something between a figurehead and a rubber stamp,” he writes in his new book, out on Jan. 17.
In a one-on-one interview with CTV News' Chief Political Correspondent Vassy Kapelos on her debut episode of CTV's Question Period, Morneau opened up about the behind-the-scene tensions in the lead-up to his high-profile departure, and spoke to some of the most revealing portions in the book, titled 'Where To from Here: A Path to Canadian Prosperity.'
"It became unsustainable," Morneau said in reference to what was behind his decision in August 2020 to resign both as finance minister and Toronto Centre MP. This move came six months into the federal government's COVID-19 aid rollout and amid the WE Charity controversy.
At the time, despite assertions from the prime minister that Morneau had his confidence, there were leaks from sources suggesting a growing rift with Trudeau, in part over how the federal government was handling COVID-19 economic stimulus programs. Programs Morneau now thinks the Liberals "probably" overspent on.
"The differences of opinion, they led us to have conclusions around whether we could work together that were mutual. So, whether it was about leaks, or whether it was about that difference in vision, I think it was pretty inevitable that five years for me was a great run, but it was time to move on," Morneau said in the interview.
As the book reveals, Morneau felt that with Trudeau's government and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) became preoccupied with how things were perceived at the expense of good policy, and how this led to one of the worst moments of his political life.