Much has happened in the last 24 hours, and much might yet happen today.
Bill Morneau resigned last night as finance minister and as MP for Toronto Centre. Mr. Morneau has been at the centre of the WE Charity controversy (along with Justin Trudeau), and was said to have clashed with the Prime Minister repeatedly this year about COVID-19 relief efforts. The public explanation that Mr. Morneau gave about why he was quitting, though, was to free him up to run for secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He also said he never really wanted to stay in politics too long anyway.
The new Finance Minister is, sources say, Chrystia Freeland, who will also remain as Deputy Prime Minister. Ms. Freeland has already been a central figure in many of the Liberal government’s most important files, from renegotiating NAFTA with the Trump administration to plotting COVID-19 relief efforts.
But looming over all this are reports that the Liberal government will prorogue Parliament and introduce a new Speech from the Throne, with a new legislative agenda, in the fall. When will the prorogation start? How long will it last? Will committees investigating the WE Charity debacle or Canada-China relations be totally sidelined? We are still waiting to find out.
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China’s government could one day go after Taiwan the way it is going after Hong Kong, unless the international community does more to intervene, human-rights advocates told Canadian MPs.
Anonymous RCMP sources tell the CBC that Governor-General Julie Payette routinely tries to duck her security detail and makes last-minute travel changes that increase expenses. A Rideau Hall spokesperson says Ms. Payette is busy and she respects the men and women in uniform who protect her.
New Brunswick voters will go to the polls Sept. 14, in the middle of the pandemic.
Michelle Obama was the main event at the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
The U.S. Republican-led Senate intelligence committee says associates of President Donald Trump had regular contact with Russian operatives.
And, in an attempt to reach out to female voters, Mr. Trump said he is offering a posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony, who fought for the right for women to vote in the United States. That right was enshrined in a constitutional amendment 100 years ago today.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Bill Morneau’s departure: “No finance minister would abandon their post during the greatest financial crisis of our lifetime, unless they were pushed or felt they had no choice. And even if Mr. Morneau did want the OECD job so eagerly, there was no reason to immediately resign his seat, forcing a by-election. There can only be two reasons to flee Ottawa so suddenly: Either he no longer enjoyed the Prime Minister’s full confidence, or the Prime Minister no longer enjoyed his.”
Andrew Willis (The Globe and Mail) on the tensions between Morneau and Trudeau: “In Bay Street circles, there are concerns that the federal government is shrugging off record-setting deficits because, hey, there’s a pandemic and interest rates are low. One telling sign of a frayed relationship: Numerous corporate executives say the Prime Minister’s Office recently began reaching out directly to private-sector economists to discuss budgets and borrowing, bypassing its own experts in the Finance Department.”
Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on Morneau’s tenure: “The notion that Morneau is a dreary guardian of arid fiscal probity who just doesn’t get how fun it is to spend is surprising if true. Morneau, after all, has never introduced a balanced budget or even one that laid out a plan for reaching balance someday. He ran for re-election on a platform that promised bigger deficits than the ones he’d been running. And, again, he hasn’t been heard to protest at all as spending has, for understandable reasons, skyrocketed this year.”
Diane Francis (Financial Post) on the political opportunities for a new Conservative leader: “It’s time to get some grown-ups in Ottawa. The post-COVID debt hangover is reason enough to clear Trudeau’s economically inept crew out of Ottawa as soon as possible. And given Trudeau’s alleged WE malfeasance, his government’s spending spree must be audited and some of its more erroneous pieces of legislation, which will only serve to sabotage Canada’s economy by halting resource development, must be rescinded. Finally, a giant broom must sweep all the green radicals, anti-capitalists and Trudeau fanboys and fangirls out of Ottawa.”