We'll have to wait a month to discover new finance minister's plan

Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau are expected to set out an ambitious recovery plan on September 23

We'll have to wait a month to discover new finance minister's plan
Steve Randall

The new finance minister has been sworn in, Canada’s first woman in the role, but we won’t find out how she plans to rebuild the economy until late September.

Chrystia Freeland was appointed to succeed Bill Morneau who resigned this week amid policy differences with the prime minister, but the master plan is some week’s off.

Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the current session of parliament will end and the government will outline a new and “ambitious” plan for economy recovery on September 23.

Trudeau said that the pandemic has not only caused a severe economic and social crisis, but also presented an opportunity for Canada to address some of the gaps in public health and social safety.

“This is our moment to change the future for the better,” the prime minister said. “We can’t afford to miss it because this window of opportunity won’t be open for long.”

Freeland, who is also deputy prime minister, has impressed colleagues as trade minister and is expected to command authority in maintaining spending plans, which will be challenged by government departments demanding increases in their budgets to help recovery.

Expansionist policy
On Tuesday, Freeland said that the prime minister’s promise of an ambitious plan to rebuild the economy will be a commitment to do “whatever it takes” and is a “fabulous opportunity” for Canada.

Responding to Trudeau’s plan, Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics at Bank of Nova Scotia, told Bloomberg: “The direction he is taking casts aside how to eventually exit from pandemic policies in the quarters and years ahead in favour of pivoting toward a long term expansionist strategy.”

The prime minister said at a press conference Tuesday that: "We need to reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better and those are big, important decisions and we need to present that to parliament and gain the confidence of parliament to move forward on this ambitious plan.”

Opposition parties responded that Trudeau’s government is in chaos, embroiled in an ethics scandal, and questioned the sense in losing a finance minister in the midst of an economic crisis.