So, Andrew Scheer has called for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to either resign or for Prime Minister Trudeau to fire him. Mr Morneau is, in my opinion, a weak minister with an inflated sense of his own importance … but in that he is just a much richer version of his boss, the “Trust Fund Kid.”
But Mr Morneau is not going … not soon, anyway.
The Globe and Mail explains, in an editorial, that while his judgement is poor and his actions questionable they do not … yet … add up to a firing offence. The editorial concludes by saying that “As long as Mr. Morneau has the confidence of the Prime Minister, he should continue as Finance Minister.” That’s nonsense … Mr Morneau will remain in his post so long as, and only as long as, he has some utility to Team Trudeau. This is all about partisan politics: it would be an ignoble political defeat of the worst sort for Prime Minister Trudeau to fire Bill Morneau now, on the available evidence … and the Liberals will not go down that path, not willingly. For crass, partisan, political reasons he, Bill Morneau, a weak, even broken minister needs to stay in place, probably to deliver the next (March 2018) budget … then, once the brouhaha has died away he can resign for family or business or even health reasons.
As I mentioned the other day, cabinet making in Canada can be a complex business and even the best prime ministers may have had to put second rate people in cabinet to try to appease regional or linguistic or racial or religious interests. I think I am on very safe ground in saying that Justin Trudeau is far from being the best (or even a pretty good) prime minister and Bill Morneau is equally far from being the worst person to sit at a Canadian cabinet table. Both are just second rate and both need to go … each in his own good time.
Andrew Scheer is right to call for his resignation … not on any evidence of corruption but, rather, because Canadians have, most likely, lost faith in what he says. Justin Trudeau is right to keep him on … but just until it is politically expedient to let him go. Canadians will be right to show Justin Trudeau the door in 2019.