Bill Morneau

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The Honourable
Bill Morneau
PC MP
Bill Morneau 2015.jpg
39th Minister of Finance
Assumed office
November 4, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preceded by Joe Oliver
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Toronto Centre
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Chrystia Freeland
Personal details
Born William Francis Morneau
(1962-10-07) October 7, 1962 (age 55)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Nancy McCain
Relations Eleanore A. Cronk (aunt)
Children 4
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Alma mater University of Western Ontario
INSEAD
London School of Economics

William Francis "Bill" Morneau PC MP (born October 7, 1962) is a Canadian politician and businessman who was elected in the 2015 Canadian federal election as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre.

Morneau was executive chair of Canada’s largest human resources firm, Morneau Shepell, and the former chair of the C. D. Howe Institute. He has also served as the chair of the board at St. Michael's Hospital, and Covenant House. Morneau studied at the University of Western Ontario, INSEAD, and the London School of Economics (LSE). Since November 4, 2015, he has been Canada's Minister of Finance.[1]

Early life[edit]

Morneau's parents are William Francis "Frank" Morneau, Sr. who came from Walkerville, Windsor, Ontario, and Helen (Lynch) Morneau, who came from Adjala Township, Alliston, Ontario. Their families had deep roots in both areas. Morneau was born in Toronto at St. Joseph's Health Centre and attended Senator O'Connor College School.[2] From 1981 to 1986, Morneau attended The University of Western Ontario and completed an Honours BA. As an undergraduate, he spent one year at the University of Grenoble in France. He then earned an MBA from INSEAD. Morneau eventually went on to earn an M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Morneau lives in Toronto and has three children, Henry, Clare, and Edward with his wife Nancy McCain, a member of the New Brunswick family which owns McCain Foods.[3] In 2010, he sponsored Grace Acan, a Grade 9 girl originally from Northern Uganda. She is considered part of the family and calls him "Dad."[4]

Business career[edit]

Bill Morneau's father, Frank Morneau, founded the actuarial and benefit consulting firm W.F. Morneau & Associates in 1966. By 1985, the firm had grown to annual revenue of $5 million.[5] Bill Morneau joined the company in 1987. Morneau held positions of increasing senority at his father's company including appointments as president in 1992, president and chief executive officer in 1998, and chair and chief executive officer in 2008.[6]

As executive chair of Morneau Shepell, the largest Canadian human resources services organization with offices across North America, Morneau led the firm through a period of growth from approximately 200 employees in 1992 to almost 4000 in 2015. Under his leadership the firm has gone through several significant changes, including the acquisition of Sobeco from Ernst & Young in 1997, going public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2005, and the acquisition of Shepell-FGI in 2008.[7]

Morneau Shepell provides over 20,000 organizations representing millions of Canadians with pension, employee benefit, and employee assistance programs.[8]

Morneau is the co-author of The Real Retirement, an analysis of the context and the factors involved in helping Canadians plan for a successful retirement originally published in 2012 with Frederick Vettese.[9]

Public life[edit]

Morneau served as the chair of the board at St. Michael's Hospital from 2009 to 2013, and as a board member from 2003 to 2013. He has also served on the board of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation (2013–2015).

Previously, Morneau served as the chair of Covenant House (1997–2000), chair of the C.D. Howe Institute (2010–2014), and as a board member at AGF Management (2001–2014). He has volunteered as a board member for the Loran Scholars Foundation (2008-2015), the Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation (2004–2011), the Canadian Opera Company (2001–2010), Greenwood College (2012–2015), and the Toronto Zoo Foundation (2000–2004).[10][11]

From 2010 to 2014, Morneau served as Chair of the C.D. Howe Institute, a non-partisan policy analysis group. In 2014, Morneau resigned from C.D. Howe after making a speech at the 2014 Liberal convention.[12]

In 2010, Morneau began leading an initiative with the UNHCR to open a secondary school for refugee girls in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. The school opened in 2014, and currently enrolls 340 girls.[13]

Morneau was appointed as pension investment advisor to the Ontario Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan in 2012, providing counsel aimed at facilitating the pooling of public-sector pension fund assets.[14] In 2014, he was appointed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to an expert panel led by former Prime Minister Paul Martin to recommend an Ontario pension supplement to the Canada Pension Plan.[15][16][17][18]

MP and Minister of Finance[edit]

In June 2014, Morneau was nominated as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for the newly configured riding of Toronto Centre. In December 2014, he was also appointed to serve on Justin Trudeau's Economic Council of Advisors to provide the Liberal leader with advice on economic issues. Morneau was the federal Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre for the 2015 federal election.[19]

On October 19, 2015, Morneau was elected as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre with 57.9% of the vote. He was then named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Minister of Finance for Canada on November 4, 2015, becoming the first rookie Member of Parliament to hold the position.[20]

Since his appointment, Morneau has played a key role in implementing a number of Liberal government initiatives, including tax changes, the introduction of the Canada Child Benefit, and the negotiation of an expansion to the Canada Pension Plan.[21][22][23] During his time as Finance Minister, the Canadian economy has also seen a period of high growth and historically low unemployment.[24]

Morneau has also received criticism for abandoning the Liberal's platform commitment to run annual deficits of less than $10 billion during the first couple years of their mandate, and return to balance by 2019-20. A few months after taking office, he abandoned those vows, citing a weaker-than-expected economy.[25] The Liberal government changes to small business taxation, proposed in 2017, have been one of the most controversial issues in Morneau's career as Finance Minister.[26] The changes involve restricting several tax planning strategies, including passive investment income and income-sprinkling for private corporations, that are often used by small businesses.[27] In response to the criticism, Morneau has made several changes, including reducing the overall small business tax rate from 11% to 9%.[28]

Personal controversies[edit]

In September 2017, Morneau was fined for failing to disclose his private corporation (Mas des Morneau) that owns a property in southern France to Canada's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Morneau has said that this was a result of early administrative confusion which led to only the property, and not the legal structure, being disclosed.[29]

In the Fall of 2017, it was revealed that based on the advise of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Morneau did not place his assets in a blind trust upon being appointed Minister of Finance, something he was reported to have done.[30] Responding to criticism, Morneau sold the remainder of his shares in his former company, Morneau Shepell (donated a portion of the profits to charity), and placed the remainder of his assets in a blind trust.[31] Morneau Shepell has been alleged to benefit from Bill C-27, a pension bill introduced by Morneau.[32] An examination into Morneau's sponsorship of Bill C-27 is still ongoing.[33]

In December 2017, the Opposition charged that Morneau had engaged in insider trading because he and his father sold Morneau Shepell shares before adverse income tax changes in December 2015.[34] On January 8th, 2018, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner cleared Morneau of Opposition charges that he had benefited from insider trading.[35].

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Bill Morneau 29,297 57.90 +8.52 $170,325.26
New Democratic Linda McQuaig 13,467 26.61 -9.69 $198,294.34
Conservative Julian Di Battista 6,167 12.19 +3.56 $22,625.73
Green Colin Biggin 1,315 2.60 -0.37 $3,964.97
Independent Jordan Stone 147 0.29
Communist Mariam Ahmad 133 0.26
Marxist–Leninist Philip Fernandez 76 0.15 +0.03
Total valid votes/expense limit 50,602 100.0     $203,952.21
Total rejected ballots 266
Turnout 50,868
Eligible voters 66,351
Source: Elections Canada[36][37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet". CBC News, November 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Vincent, Donovan (November 12, 2017). "Bill Morneau opens up about his path to the political hot seat". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ Globensky, Manon (22 February 2014). "Qui seront ces nouveaux candidats que le Parti libéral fédéral convoite tant?". Radio Canada. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Kuitenbrouwer, Peter (November 6, 2015). "A CEO, but not exactly a Bay Street guy: Bill Morneau's path to becoming Canada's finance minister". Financial Post. PostMedia. Retrieved November 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ "A CEO, but not exactly a Bay Street guy: Bill Morneau's path to becoming Canada's finance minister". 6 November 2015. 
  6. ^ McKinnon et al, Top 40 Under 40. The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2002.
  7. ^ Morneau Shepell About Us Morneau Shepell
  8. ^ Morneau Shepell Declares July 2015 Cash Dividend. Canada NewsWire, July 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Morneau, Bill; Vettese, Fred (June 24, 2013). "What retirement crisis? Share the risk, bridge the gap". Globe and Mail. , discussing their book Vettese, Fred; Morneau, Bill (2012). The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think, and How to Make That Happen. Toronto: J. Wiley & Sons Canada. ISBN 978-1-11849864-4. 
  10. ^ St. Michael’s Hospital: William Morneau, Chair of the Board of Directors. The Globe and Mail, July 20, 2009.
  11. ^ McGreggor, Glen (Feb 24, 2014). Bill Morneau resigns from C.D. Howe Institute after Liberal convention speech Ottawa Citizen.
  12. ^ "Bill Morneau resigns from C.D. Howe Institute after Liberal convention speech". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Morneau Shepell - UNHCR Corporate Partner". Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Ontario Appoints Advisor To Lead Pension Investment Reforms. Government of Ontario, May 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Office of the Premier (Jan 28 2014) Premier Announces Technical Advisory Group Ontario Government
  16. ^ Morrow, Adrian (December 18, 2013). Wynne stakes Ontario Liberals' fortunes on pledge for new pension plan by spring. The Globe and Mail.
  17. ^ Howlett, Karen (November 16, 2012). Pooling pension assets of public-sector workers in Ontario urged. The Globe and Mail.
  18. ^ Ontario Appoints Advisor To Lead Pension Investment Reforms. Ontario Ministry of Finance, May 30, 2012.
  19. ^ Ivison, John (March 27, 2015). Executive tipped as Trudeau's pick for Finance would target wealthy to boost middle class. National Post.
  20. ^ CBC News (November 4, 2015). Full list of Justin Trudeau's cabinet
  21. ^ "Government of Canada Announces Tax Cut to Strengthen the Middle Class". Government of Canada. 7 December 2015. 
  22. ^ "Finance Minister Morneau lays out new spending for Canada Child Benefit". The Hill Times. 24 October 2017. 
  23. ^ "Bill Morneau's clever Canada Pension Plan Deal: Walkom". Toronto Star. 22 June 2016. 
  24. ^ "Bill Morneau has a good news story to tell - if anyone's listening". Maclean's. 25 October 2017. 
  25. ^ Andy Blatchford (12 September 2017). "Improving economy won't knock Liberals from deficit path: Bill Morneau". 
  26. ^ "Bill Morneau Pushed To Make Even More Changes To Small Business Tax Reforms". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  27. ^ "Morneau's small business tax changes promise simpler rules for income sprinkling". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-01-19. 
  28. ^ MacCharles, Tonda (2017-10-16). "Federal government to cut small business tax rate to 9% by 2019". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2018-01-19. 
  29. ^ "Finance Minister Bill Morneau waited 2 years to disclose company that owns his French villa to ethics watchdog". CBC News. 15 October 2017. 
  30. ^ John Geddes (17 October 2017). "Here's why Bill Morneau didn't sell his stock or set up a blind trust". Maclean's. 
  31. ^ "Morneau says he's sold all shares in family's pension company, made donation to charity". CBC. 20 November 2017. 
  32. ^ "Ethics commissioner investigates Bill Morneau over Bill C-27 questions". Global News. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  33. ^ Tonda MacCharles (10 November 2017). "Ethics watchdog investigating Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau for conflict of interest". The Toronto Star. 
  34. ^ Blatchford, Andy (November 30, 2017). "Morneau at centre of fiery debate in Commons that leads to Tory MP's ejection". CBC News. 
  35. ^ Tonda MacCharles (8 January 2018). "Morneau cleared by ethics watchdog on two complaints". The Toronto Star. 
  36. ^ "Voter Information Service - Who are the candidates in my electoral district?". www.elections.ca. 
  37. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.
29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Joe Oliver Minister of Finance
2015–present
Incumbent