OTTAWA — Chrystia Freeland will become the next finance minister.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to make the announcement Tuesday, after Bill Morneau stepped down as finance minister Monday evening.
Freeland’s succession of the coveted portfolio makes her Canada’s first female finance minister. Her appointment was first reported by CTV News Tuesday morning.
Prior to entering politics as a star candidate for the Liberals in a 2013 byelection race in Toronto Centre, Freeland rose the ranks in journalism as a business reporter and editor. She wrote for the Financial Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, and worked as a senior editor with the Globe and Mail, the Financial Times and Thomson-Reuters in New York City before deciding to run for public office.
She has written two books, including “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.” Before the Liberals were elected in 2015, she co-chaired Trudeau’s economic advisory council with former MP Scott Brison.
Watch: Bill Morneau resigns as finance minister. Story continues below video.
The Alberta-born mother of three has represented the Toronto riding of University—Rosedale since 2015. She was appointed Trudeau’s first minister of international trade, overseeing the final negotiations of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
After Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States in November 2016, Freeland became the lead on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations. She kept that portfolio as she moved to become Canada’s foreign affairs minister in 2017.
After the 2019 election, Freeland was named deputy prime minister and given the task of intergovernmental affairs. She has earned praise from former opponents for her work on the new NAFTA negotiations. Provincial premiers of different political stripes have also spoken highly of working with her during the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She steps into the role after Morneau announced his decision to leave politics.
Morneau resigned Monday following a morning meeting with the prime minister. He said his decision was based on timing, explaining it was never his intention to run for more than two elections.
“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 told reporters hastily called to a news conference.
“It’s the right time for a new Finance Minister to deliver on that plan for the long and challenging road ahead.”
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The former Morneau Shepell executive chairman said he is leaving politics — including his Toronto Centre seat — to prepare his candidacy to become the next secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
He said the prime minister did not ask for his resignation and “has given me full support in this quest.”
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The news came after weeks of speculation about Morneau’s political future, fed by anonymous leaks suggesting a fraying relationship between Trudeau and his finance minister.
Differing opinions about handling the growing deficit and emergency COVID-19 spending fuelled tensions between the two men, according to the Globe and Mail. Reuters reported disagreements over proposed funding for green initiatives further added to problems.
The prime minister’s office attempted to quell the leaks of bad relations with a statement last week saying Trudeau has “full confidence” in Morneau.
After his announcement that he is leaving politics, Morneau described disagreements he’s had with the prime minister as “necessary vigorous debate.”
With files from Ryan Maloney