Top Finance Aide Steps Down After Trudeau Details Deficit

The top bureaucrat at Canada’s finance ministry announced he is leaving his post a day after Justin Trudeau’s government unveiled an update on hundreds of billions in emergency Covid-19 spending.

Deputy Finance Minister Paul Rochon said his last day is Dec. 14, according to an email to the department Tuesday obtained by Bloomberg. He is the fourth major economic policy maker in the country to leave their post this year.

Rochon has been a finance department veteran for nearly three decades, and served at a number of senior positions before his appointment to top bureaucratic post in 2014.

The deputy minister is the country’s third most important federal economic policy maker after the finance minister and Bank of Canada governor.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland praised Rochon’s “distinguished” record in both the current crisis and throughout his career. “The sterling reputation and credibility of Canada’s finances is owed to Paul, and to people like him, who have dedicated themselves to serving the public good,” she said in an emailed statement Tuesday evening.

Rochon’s departure will take place only five days after his counterpart at the Bank of Canada, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins, steps down from her post. Wilkins hasn’t said what she plans to do next.

Former Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned in August after a rift with Trudeau erupted into public view. The prime minister named Freeland in his place, pledging to keep the spending taps open through the coronavirus crisis

In a mini-budget Monday, Freeland projected a deficit of C$381.6 billion ($295 billion) this fiscal year, or 17.5% of gross domestic product.

The top job at the Bank of Canada also changed hands during the crisis, with Governor Tiff Macklem taking over from Stephen Poloz in June. Last month, Wilkins announced her plans to leave on Dec. 9, ahead of the end of her seven-year term in May.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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