Trudeau defends financial agenda after sturdy critique from former finance minister Invoice Morneau

Then-Minister of Finance Invoice Morneau attends a information convention with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on March 11, 2020.Blair Gable/Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the Liberal authorities’s financial insurance policies on Thursday, following public criticism from his former finance minister, Invoice Morneau.

Mr. Morneau, who resigned from the federal cupboard underneath strain from Mr. Trudeau in 2020, delivered a toughly worded speech Wednesday night to the pro-business C.D. Howe Institute, which he headed earlier than he turned finance minister in 2015.

He criticized the Trudeau authorities for focusing extra on wealth redistribution than financial development and competitiveness, echoing sentiments dozens of Canadian enterprise leaders have beforehand expressed in interviews with The Globe. Though Mr. Morneau didn’t point out his successor by identify, he mentioned the present Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, has not set out a prudent debt goal to underpin public spending.

Mr. Trudeau countered that Mr. Morneau helped form main wealth-redistribution packages, together with the Canada Youngster Profit and a rise in taxes on wealthier Canadians.

Former finance minister Invoice Morneau criticizes Liberals’ financial insurance policies in first public speech since leaving political life

“Invoice was an enormous a part of that – an necessary member of the staff,” Mr. Trudeau informed reporters at a information convention, the place he was unveiling a $1.3-billion land-claim take care of the Siksika First Nation of Alberta.

The Prime Minister mentioned the federal government needed to shift gears when the pandemic hit, by spending billions of {dollars} to offer financial reduction to companies and people.

“We did that, not simply because that was going to be the easiest way by the pandemic, nevertheless it was the easiest way of guaranteeing the economic system would come again as rapidly and strongly as potential,” he mentioned.

Mr. Trudeau argued that Canada’s job restoration has been higher than that of the USA, as the worldwide economic system has begun to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Mr. Morneau’s speech to the C.D. Howe Institute, he mentioned there was by no means any urgency within the Trudeau cupboard to fight Canada’s low productiveness. The previous finance minister famous that the Group for Financial Cooperation and Growth predicts Canada will rank final amongst rich international locations by way of actual GDP per capita between 2021 and 2060.

He additionally mentioned the Trudeau authorities doesn’t seek the advice of with company Canada or hearken to its views, one other criticism often levelled at Ottawa by enterprise leaders.

However Mr. Trudeau appeared to rule out a change in course for his authorities.

“At the same time as we see development decide up once more, we have to proceed to be there to assist households. Proper now which means supporting them with the price of residing,” he mentioned.

Agreements that Ms. Freeland negotiated with the provinces to offer $10-a-day youngster care will save households about $5,000 a yr every in day-care charges, he mentioned.

“These are the sorts of issues we’ve got carried out, and we all know by supporting Canadians – ensuring everybody has an actual and truthful probability to succeed – that’s the way you create one of the best development,” he mentioned.

Conservative finance critic Dan Albas mentioned he agrees with Mr. Morneau’s concern that the Liberal authorities is extra excited about redistributing wealth than in rising the economic system. However he added that a lot of Mr. Morneau’s growth-related insurance policies as finance minister – equivalent to establishing the Canada Infrastructure Financial institution and creating “superclusters” of revolutionary companies and researchers – weren’t profitable.

“I fully agree together with his evaluation that this authorities likes to chop up the pie,” Mr. Albas mentioned. “It definitely has no thought develop it.”

Ben Bergen, president of the Council of Canadian Innovators, which represents know-how firms, accused Mr. Morneau of ducking any duty for his position in designing the Liberal authorities’s financial agenda.

In feedback on Twitter, Mr. Bergen mentioned his group had tried repeatedly to offer Mr. Morneau with recommendation on modernizing federal packages and coverage to create larger financial prosperity.

“You had your head within the sand. You don’t get to rewrite historical past,” Mr. Bergen wrote.

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