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OTTAWA, Ontario, August 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s embattled finance minister resigned this week amid his on-going involvement with the WE Charity scandal and alleged disagreements with his former boss, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I met with the Prime Minister today and I informed him that I did not intend to run in the next federal election. It’s never been my plan to run for more than two federal election cycles,” said Bill Morneau in a hastily organized press conference on Monday.
“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. It’s the right time for a new finance minister to deliver on that plan for the long and challenging road ahead, that’s why I will be stepping down as member of parliament for Toronto Centre.”
On Tuesday, Trudeau picked Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to take over as finance minister. She was officially sworn in to the role on Tuesday afternoon.
At his press conference, Morneau said he will be putting his name forward to become the next Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the “full support” of Trudeau.
It was reported that Morneau and Trudeau had been clashing over disagreements regarding coronavirus spending and forthcoming “green” initiatives.
Yesterday, multiple media sources reported that Morneau and Trudeau were working out their “differences” in a closed-door meeting.
When speaking to reporters at his press conference, Morneau dodged questions on whether he was forced to resign, and instead said his conversation with Trudeau was “constructive.”
In a statement sent out on Monday, Trudeau said that he had “accepted” Morneau’s resignation letter and thanked him for his “advice” and friendship.
“Today, I spoke with Bill Morneau and accepted his resignation,” wrote Trudeau.
“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,” wrote Trudeau.
Trudeau then added that he will be “vigorously” supporting Morneau in his seeking to become the leader of the OECD.
Both Trudeau and former finance minister Morneau are under investigation by the ethics commissioner and have issued apologies for not recusing themselves from their cabinet discussions to approve the now-canceled contract with the WE Charity.
The contract would have seen WE get up to $43.5 million to administer the Canada Student Service Grants program (CSSG).
Morneau recently told the finance committee that he wrote a check for $41,366 as reimbursement for WE Charity travel expenses he had incurred for two family trips with the organization in 2017.
Conservative M.P. Pierre Poilievre repeatedly riled Trudeau to come clean with the exact dollar amount his family has received from WE Charity appearances, which is reported to be in excess of $300,000.
On Tuesday afternoon, Trudeau asked the Canadian Governor-General Julie Payette to prorogue Parliament until the fall, meaning all committee hearings have been halted.
The office of the ethics commissioner said that its investigation will go on despite Morneau’s resignation, although with parliament now shut, it is uncertain when the committee hearings will resume.
“In case you were wondering about the examination on Mr. Morneau: #EthicsCommissioner Dion is required under subsection 44(7) of the #COIA to provide a report to the Prime Minister and make it public under subsection 44(8). #CdnPoli,” wrote the ethics commissioner’s office on Twitter.
Opposition politicians not buying Morneau’s reasoning for resigning
The outgoing leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) Andrew Scheer said that Morneau’s “resignation” shows a government in “chaos”
“Bill Morneau’s ‘resignation’ is further proof of a government in chaos. At a time when Canadians are worried about their health and their finances, Justin Trudeau’s government is so consumed by scandal that Trudeau has amputated his right hand to try and save himself,” wrote Scheer on Twitter yesterday.
Scheer went on to say that no one is “buying the Liberals’ bogus excuses about a ‘policy disagreement’,” adding that “Scapegoating Morneau does not solve the problem.”
“As long as Trudeau is Prime Minister, the corruption will continue,” wrote Scheer on Twitter.
In speaking to reporters about Morneau’s resignation, Poilievre who sits on the finance committee investigating the WE Charity scandal said he is a “boy scout next to the Liberal lawbreaker we call Justin Trudeau.”
“Regardless, though, of how you play musical chairs, we still have the same corrupt and incompetent prime minister ahead of the same corrupt and chaotic government,” added Poilievre.
Poilievre also blasted the choice of Freeland as the new finance minister, noting that she was the chair of the cabinet committee which approved the “half-billion-dollar handout to the WE organization.”
“That is the scandal we are involved in today,” said Poilievre.
CPC leadership candidate Derek Sloan said that Morneau’s resignation is not enough and that Trudeau himself needs to go.
“Morneau has resigned, and so should Trudeau, but he won’t because he is comfortable with the double standard that lets him keep his job while forcing others out of theirs. We must remove him electorally,” wrote Sloan on Twitter.
Last week, the leader of the separatist Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet said that if Trudeau does not resign over the We Charity scandal, then he would be open to triggering an election this fall.
Yesterday, Blanchet said that Trudeau used Morneau as a scapegoat, saying he “[Trudeau] wants to be superman going into the phone booth to change his uniform, but there's no real change in the prime minister's behaviour.”
In July, the outgoing leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Andrew Scheer, said Trudeau and Morneau needed to “step aside for the good of the country,” and that the “entire scandal reeks of corruption at the highest levels of the federal government.”
Recently, Teresa Pierre, President and founder of Parents as First Educators (PAFE) told LifeSiteNews that now is the time for parents to be “vigilant” to ensure that the “cult-like circus that WE Charity has become” never again is allowed to be a part of their child’s education in public school.
WE Charity has announced that it is canceling WE Days “indefinitely” and is focusing on restructuring.
Moreover, performances at WE Days “have been repeatedly criticized by family values organizations over the years for their raunchy lyrics and suggestive dance routines,” observed PAFE’s Pierre in a past email to supporters.