Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Monday announced his resignation amid an ongoing scandal of accepting gifts from a charity organization and also a reported rift with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During a news conference in Ottawa, Morneau said he told Trudeau that he was not going to contest in the next federal election and that he only ever intended to serve in two governments, according to a media report.
The minister further said, “Now is the right time for a new Finance Minister to manage a long and uncertain recovery as Canada rebuilds from the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic”.
“That’s why I’ll be stepping down as Finance Minister and as Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre,” he added.
However, it did mention that Morneau “will put forward his name as a candidate to be the next secretary general of the OECD” and that “Canada will vigorously support his bid to lead this important global institution.”
The Canadian Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement a week ago saying Trudeau had “full confidence” in Morneau.
Both Trudeau and Morneau have also been embroiled in the controversy over the grant of a near billion dollar contract to a charity with links to them and their families.
Trudeau and his government have been under fire since announcing on June 25 that they were granting WE Charity a sole-sourced contract to run the now-halted student volunteer summer program of C$900 million ($664 million).
Last month, Trudeau said he made a mistake in not recusing himself from cabinet discussions about granting the program to the charity group.
The 57-year-old was an MP from Toronto Center and was first elected in 2015. He was appointed Finance Minister in October 2015 and remained in that post till the resignation.
(With inputs from inputs)