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Morneau resigns as minister of finance

Morneau resigns as minister of finance

Chrystia Freeland is expected to handle the file

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will name a new minister of finance Tuesday afternoon.

Bill Morneau resigned as finance minister and as the member of Parliament for Toronto Centre on Monday as Canada continues to navigate its way through the pandemic.

“As we move to the next phase of our fight against the pandemic and pave the road towards economic recovery, we must recognize that this process will take many years,” he said during a press conference Monday evening. “It’s the right time now for a new finance minister to deliver on that plan for the long and challenging road ahead.”

Morneau’s future plans include a bid to become the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, he said.

The 37-country group represents about 80 per cent of world trade and investment.

It appears the prime minister is set to appoint one of his most-trusted ministers to the finance file during a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday.

Chrystia Freeland, the current deputy prime minister, will be Canada’s new minister of finance and the first woman to hold the position, multiple reports indicate.

Freeland will remain deputy prime minister, and Dominic LeBlanc, the current president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, will once again become the minister of intergovernmental affairs, the reports say.

As minister, LeBlanc will be responsible for the relationship between the federal government and the provinces and territories.

He stepped away from the position in April 2019 to focus on his battle with cancer.

From a Canadian ag perspective, not much changes in terms of communication or industry advocacy, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) says.

Freeland’s office was always part of any government correspondence, and that will continue, said Keith Currie, first vice-president of the CFA.

“We make sure to include her in any of our asks, so she’s well aware of where we are at in terms of what we can do in agriculture to help us get through all things COVID,” he told Farms.com. “We’re going to continue pushing what we’ve been pushing.”

The new finance minister may want to look at the ag sector as an area to help spur post-pandemic economic recovery.

Canadians will still need to eat and work, and the ag industry provides both food and opportunity, Currie said.

“There’s going to be a huge need to restart the economy and the agri-food industry is the way to go,” he said. “You’re talking about $115 billion (of annual gross domestic product) across the country and one in eight jobs. Why not enhance that system to help restart the economy?”




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