Beleaguered Finance Minister Bill Morneau continues to harm Justin Trudeau’s government.
According to a recently released Nanos Research poll, 40% of Canadians think Morneau should be replaced as finance minister. According to the same poll, about 30% of Canadians think Morneau should continue as finance minister and the remaining 30% are unsure.
The very weak level of support Canadians are willing to show in Bill Morneau is staggering to consider. The finance minister has the support of less than a third of Canadians. The most important job for any Canadian federal government is to be good stewards of the economy. Less than one in three Canadians think the cabinet minister whose job has the most direct in our economy should continue in that role.
At the time of his appointment to lead the ministry of finance, Bill Morneau was the first finance minister in 96 years to be appointed immediately after his first electoral office win. The job of minister of finance is most importantly a political job. Justin Trudeau and Gerald Butts didn’t grasp the importance of political experience in appointing Morneau to the job. Lack of experience is part of the reason there are so few Canadians who have confidence in Bill Morneau.
It’s All About Confidence
Confidence in our federal government is crucial to a strong economy. Consumers spend more when they are confident in the economy. When workers feel confident their jobs won’t be eliminated, and in the likelihood of salary increases, they are willing to spend more on discretionary items. If less than a third of Canadians are confident in their finance minister than they are more likely to hold off on purchases that aren’t absolutely necessary.
Confidence is also important for businesses. When businesses are confident that the federal government has the economy headed in the right direction they will be willing to invest more to grow their business. When 40% of Canadians think the finance minister should resign this indicates that that Canadian business community is not confident in the decision making ability of the person heading our economy.
It’s a Matter of When Not If
Bill Morneau has lost too much credibility, and hurt the Liberal’s popularity to such an extent, that he simply cannot continue as minister of finance into the next election. Nanos Research president Nik Nanos said of Morneau:
“I think maybe one prediction we can make, perhaps with some sort of certainty, is that he won’t be the minister of finance going into the next federal election”
Morneau is damaged goods on too many fronts to credibly continue as finance minister. The revelations of his vast personal wealth make it difficult for him to argue he is acting in the best interest of middle-class Canadians. Morneau’s handling of his wealth while serving as finance minister lead to valid questions about his personal ethics and decision making.
Justin likely does not want to appear weak and replace Morneau while the latter is still embroiled in scandal. That means Morneau is likely safe until after the Liberals present the 2018 budget. A cabinet shuffle in the late spring will give the new finance minister time to get accustomed to their new portfolio before presenting a budget full of election goodies in 2019.
In the best interest of Canadians, we should all hope that Justin Trudeau makes a much wiser choice for his second finance minister than he did in his first finance minister.