Chrystia Freeland to be named new Canada finance minister: reports – BBC News

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Canada’s deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland will be taking over the role of finance minister, Canadian media report.

Bill Morneau stepped down on Monday from the top finance job amid pressure from opposition parties, after five years in the role.

Ms Freeland, 52, will become the first woman to hold the powerful portfolio in Canada.

She is one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most trusted ministers.

Canada is going through its worst economic crisis since the Second World War due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

She has previously held several high-level cabinet positions, including the international trade portfolio.

As foreign minister she helped renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement – or Nafta – with the US and Mexico.

Besides her current role as deputy prime minister, she also oversees relations between the federal and provincial and territorial governments.

The former journalist was first elected as a member of parliament (MP) in 2013.

Why did Mr Morneau resign?

On Monday, Mr Morneau said he was resigning from his position in the Liberal party cabinet and his role as MP for his Ontario riding, Toronto Centre.

He is facing conflict-of-interest allegations amid a charity ethics scandal, and there were reports of a rift between him and the prime minister over how to handle the economic recovery.

Mr Morneau said the WE Charity affair did not prompt his decision to resign, adding he will seek to be the next secretary general for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

He said his successor should have a “longer term perspective” as Canada navigates the struggling economy.

Mr Morneau and Mr Trudeau are facing ethics investigations over their handling of a contract to administer a pandemic relief programme for student volunteers, which was given to the WE Charity.

Both had ties with the charity and have apologised for failing to recuse themselves from related discussions. WE pulled out of the contract in July.

Ms Freeland is expected to be sworn in during a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday afternoon, according to reports.

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