Trudeau and Morneau offices remain tightlipped as PM and finance minister secretly meet to hash out COVID policy rift

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Early last week, Bloomberg News revealed that the prime minister had tapped the former governor of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, Marc Carney, as an “informal advisor” for the COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery plan. That fuelled rumours that Carney is eventually aiming to run for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Tuesday, The Globe and Mail quoted anonymous PMO sources saying that Morneau’s job could be in jeopardy, since the prime minister was not committed to keeping him on board for the next phases of the COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery.

The newspaper reported that PMO is displeased with Morneau over how his department crafted some policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the federal wage subsidy. Sources were also quoted as saying there were issues over Morneau’s testimony at the finance committee studying the WE charity scandal.

The story prompted Trudeau’s office to release a statement the following day in support of Morneau.

“Of course the prime minister has full confidence in Minister Morneau and any statement to the contrary is false. The prime minister knows that Minister Morneau and the entire team of cabinet ministers will keep doing the work that Canadians rely on to get them through this pandemic,” PMO spokesperson Alex Wellstead said.

Morneau and Trudeau have recently been embroiled in controversy surrounding their government’s deal to outsource a $912 million student volunteer grant program to WE Charity. Last month, the Ethics commissioner opened an investigation into both their dealings on that file.