Trudeau, Morneau set to meet Monday as tensions build

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are expected to meet in person on Monday, according to a senior government source.

The nature of the meeting is to discuss their working relationship according to the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Spokespeople for the Prime Minister’s Office and the finance minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bloomberg News was first to report plans for a face-to-face meeting.

Recent media reports have suggested the relationship between Trudeau and Morneau has become strained, in part because of the finance minister’s involvement in the WE Charity scandal, which has left the prime minister on the defensive. 

As BNN Bloomberg previously reported, there have also been some disagreements over the government’s economic relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The economic situation has been a stressful and challenging one,” Elliot Hughes, a senior advisor at Summa Strategies and a former deputy director of tax policy to Morneau, told BNN Bloomberg in an email. “There were always going to be some tensions along the way.”

Bloomberg News reported last week that Mark Carney, the former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor, has been serving as an informal advisor to Trudeau on the economic recovery.

The prime minister subsequently refuted any notion that he’s lost confidence in his finance minister.

“Of course the prime minister has full confidence in Minister Morneau and any statement to the contrary is false,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement last Tuesday.

Mid-August meetings between a prime minister and finance minister are also often necessary to plan for the economic path ahead, according to former Morneau advisor Elliot Hughes.

“You’ve got about eight months until the budget and four months until the fall economic statement,” said Hughes. “Now is the time in the cycle when the principals would typically sit down to sketch out those plans.”

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