Morneau speaks on challenges of public life and conflicts with Trudeau that led to his resignation

Former finance minister is on a tour for recently published book about his time in politics

Two men speak in front of an audience.
Bill Morneau, a former minister of finance, is shown during his podcast interview with political journalist Paul Wells on Jan. 23. On book tour, Morneau spoke about his time in politics and future plans. (Beatriz Ferreira Silva/Toronto Observer) 

Former finance minister Bill Morneau says that different perspectives — including from people with no previous political background — matter in politics and help improve government policies.

“Change happens. But it only happens if people question the way we are doing things right now,” he said during a taping of the Paul Wells Show podcast on Jan. 23. 

“In some ways, right now, the things we are doing are not leading to good outcomes.”

Morneau, a former chairman at LifeWorks, a human resources company who was first elected in 2015, spoke about the influence of his wealth and background in business on his political career.

“People probably want someone in the finance minister’s job who’s actually made investments before in his or her life,” he said. “Others thought that I didn’t have complete enough understanding, and that’s fair. That is a democracy.”

Morneau left his positions as finance minister and MP for Toronto Centre in 2020, after his involvement in the WE Charity scandal and disagreements with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over post-pandemic economic policies. 

According to Morneau, the two initially had similar views on how to address citizens’ needs following the COVID-19 crisis, but he was more concerned about finding solutions that would “allow us to come out of COVID appropriately.”

The former minister said that although there is a “need for tension” when making effective policies, the conflicts made him question his position.

“When the finance minister and the prime minister … don’t get along, typically it’s the prime minister who wins,” Morneau said. “But if it gets too intense, you do have to think about whether you’re going to be able to continue working together.”

The podcast interview with Wells is part of Morneau’s tour to promote his new book, Where to From Here, A Path to Canadian Prosperity. In it, he further discusses his experience in Trudeau’s government and the conflicts that led to his resignation. 

Moving forward, Morneau said that he values his time in politics and encouraged others to get involved, but said he has no interest in returning to public life anytime soon.

“I’m quite happy to be trying to do things that I hope will make a difference in a different way,” he said. “I’m certainly not looking to get back into politics today.” 

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Posted: Feb 4 2023 1:30 pm
Filed under: News Politics