Bill Morneau has resigned as Justin Trudeau’s Finance Minister.
Morneau has served as the prime minister’s finance minister since the Liberal’s election victory in 2015—becoming one of the longest serving finance ministers in Canada’s history.
Morneau was reportedly forced out of the cabinet as a result of the WE scandal revelations. Firstly, it was discovered that both of Morneau’s daughters had either been employed by WE or had their book endorsed by the charity’s co-founders.
After this, Morneau revealed that he had accepted a $41 thousand vacation from the WE organization—only paying this money back one day before a committee on the scandal.
Morneau did not recuse himself from the cabinet decision to award WE a $900 million contract.
Recently, reports have emerged that Trudeau and Morneau has been disagreeing over economic policy: with the finance minister unprepared to push Canada deeper into an unprecedented deficit.
Trudeau, on the other hand, was committed to environmental policy and stimulus packages.
Some commentators have suggested that this is a way of distancing Morneau from the WE scandal, as it would also set a precedent for Trudeau to resign.
It is unclear who Morneau will be replaced with.
During the live press conference, Morneau announced that he will not be stepping away from politics altogether, as he will be putting his name forward to become next secretary general of the organization for economic cooperation and development.
Morneau said that he was not asked to step down from his position by the prime minister.
'Full support' from Justin Trudeau
In a statement released during Morneau's press conference Thursday evening, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had the "deepest gratitude" for the work Morneau had done as finance minister.
"I want to thank Bill for everything he has done to improve the quality of life of Canadians and make our country a better and fairer place to live. I have counted on his leadership, advice, and close friendship over the years and I look forward to that continuing well into the future. Bill, you have my deepest gratitude and I know you will continue making great contributions to our country and for Canadians in the years to come," an excerpt from the statement reads.