Dear Mr. Morneau:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Finance.
On Election Day, Canadians chose to continue moving forward. From coast to coast to coast, people chose to invest in their families and communities, create good middle class jobs and fight climate change while keeping our economy strong and growing. Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most, from making their lives more affordable and strengthening the healthcare system, to protecting the environment, keeping our communities safe and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. People expect Parliamentarians to work together to deliver these results, and that’s exactly what this team will do.
It is more important than ever for Canadians to unite and build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. The Government of Canada is the central institution to promote that unity of purpose and, as a Minister in that Government, you have a personal duty and responsibility to fulfill that objective.
That starts with a commitment to govern in a positive, open and collaborative way. Our platform, Forward: A Real Plan for the Middle Class, is the starting point for our Government. I expect us to work with Parliament to deliver on our commitments. Other issues and ideas will arise or will come from Canadians, Parliament, stakeholders and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to the Government’s agenda when appropriate. Where legislation is required, you will need to work with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Cabinet Committee on Operations to prioritize within the minority Parliament.
We will continue to deliver real results and effective government to Canadians. This includes: tracking and publicly reporting on the progress of our commitments; assessing the effectiveness of our work; aligning our resources with priorities; and adapting to events as they unfold, in order to get the results Canadians rightly demand of us.
Many of our most important commitments require partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Even where disagreements may occur, we will remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government and it is in everyone’s interest that we work together to find common ground. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories.
There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We made significant progress in our last mandate on supporting self-determination, improving service delivery and advancing reconciliation. I am directing every single Minister to determine what they can do in their specific portfolio to accelerate and build on the progress we have made with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.
I also expect us to continue to raise the bar on openness, effectiveness and transparency in government. This means a government that is open by default.It means better digital capacity and services for Canadians. It means a strong and resilient public service. It also means humility and continuing to acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect; they expect us to be diligent, honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.
As Minister, you are accountable for your style of leadership and your ability to work constructively in Parliament. I expect that you will collaborate closely with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. You will also meaningfully engage with the Government Caucus and Opposition Members of Parliament, the increasingly non-partisan Senate, and Parliamentary Committees.
It is also your responsibility to substantively engage with Canadians, civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. You must be proactive in ensuring that a broad array of voices provides you with advice, in both official languages, from every region of the country.
We are committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make.
Canada’s media and your engagement with them in a professional and timely manner are essential. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, ask necessary questions and contribute in an important way to the democratic process.
You will do your part to continue our Government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure that people of all gender identities, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, persons with disabilities and minority groups are reflected in positions of leadership.
As Minister of Finance, you will continue to lead the Government’s work to grow the economy in a way that works for all Canadians, with continued focus on strengthening the middle class and helping those people working hard to join it. This includes immediately launching a Budget 2020 process that works with Parliament to begin the implementation of our election platform. You will support the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance with her new mandate. You will also be working with me in supporting our broad agenda, and so I would ask you and your department to actively support the implementation of mandate commitments across the Ministry.
I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will:
- Maintain four key principles for the implementation of our fiscal plan:
- Continue to reduce the Government’s debt as a function of our economy;
- Continue to build confidence in Canada’s economy by preserving our AAA credit rating;
- Continue to invest in people and in the things that give people a better quality of life; and
- Preserve fiscal firepower in the event that we need to respond to an economic downturn.
- As our top Parliamentary priority, introduce legislation to cut taxes for the middle class and those working hard to join it. You will develop a new Basic Personal Amount (BPA) of $15,000. Higher income individuals should not benefit from this tax cut but will still receive the existing BPA tax credit.
- Cut tax rates by 50 per cent for companies that develop and manufacture zero-emissions technology. Eligible sectors should include but not be limited to: manufacturing related to renewable energy, renewable fuels production, zero-emission vehicles, carbon sequestration and removal technology, batteries for use in zero-emission vehicles, and grid storage and electric vehicle charging systems.
- Continue to work with the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth to improve the quality and scope of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in future budgets.
- Work with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to support the Minister of Health to strengthen Medicare, renewing our health agreements with the provinces and territories in four priority areas:
- Ensure that every Canadian has access to a family doctor or primary health care team;
- Set national standards for access to mental health services so Canadians can get fast access to the support they need when they need it;
- Continue to make home care and palliative care more available across the country; and
- Continue to implement national universal pharmacare, including the establishment of the Canada Drug Agency, a national formulary and a rare disease drug strategy to help Canadian families save money on high-cost drugs.
- Ensure that all proceeds that the federal government receives from the Trans Mountain Expansion project, including incremental corporate income tax revenue, dividends and capital gains on sale, are invested in nature-based climate solutions and clean energy projects.
- Undertake a new comprehensive review of government spending that provides transparent and public reporting to Canadians of the results and analysis.
- Undertake a review of tax expenditures to ensure that wealthy Canadians do not benefit from unfair tax breaks. Ensure that this process provides transparent and public reporting to Canadians of the results and analysis.
- Modernize anti-avoidance rules to stop large multinational companies from being able to shop for lower tax rates by constructing complex schemes between countries.
- Close corporate tax loopholes that allow companies to excessively deduct debt to artificially reduce the tax that they pay.
- Introduce a new 10 per cent tax on luxury boats, cars and personal aircraft over $100,000.
- Ensure that multinational tech giants pay appropriate corporate tax on the revenue that they generate within Canada.
- Work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to ensure that international digital corporations whose products are consumed in Canada collect and remit the same level of sales tax as Canadian digital corporations.
- Work with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development who is the Minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to limit housing speculation by developing a framework and introducing a 1 per cent annual vacancy and speculation tax on applicable residential properties owned by non-resident non-Canadians. This would involve working with provinces, territories, municipalities and law enforcement to track housing ownership and speculation.
- In the upcoming review of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), work with the Minister of Seniors and the provinces and territories to increase survivor benefits under the CPP and the Quebec Pension Plan by 25 per cent.
- Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion in implementing the Canada Training Benefit.
- Finalize a report, which will include a list of federal fossil fuel subsidies including the description of the subsidies, annual costs and analysis of the subsidies. This report will be made public once a peer review is finalized.
- Work in collaboration with provinces to ensure that the CPP enhancement is completed.
- Support the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in concluding consultations with provinces and territories on the creation of a pan-Canadian public registry for beneficial ownership and in preparing legislation reflecting the outcome of those consultations.
- Finalize amendments to the Income Tax Act to limit the benefit of the employee stock option deduction for high-income individuals employed at large, long-established mature firms.
- Review and consider recommendations from financial agencies related to making the borrower stress test more dynamic.
- Support the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Indigenous Services in developing a new fiscal relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
- Work with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on tax measures to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of farms.
- Support the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in ensuring that the Canada Infrastructure Bank has the support it needs for its core purpose of attracting private sector and institutional investment to expand the scope of public infrastructure investment in Canada.
- Complete implementation of the new financial consumer protection framework.
- Support the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in developing enhanced consumer protections, including the creation of a new Canadian Consumer Advocate.
These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. As mentioned, you are encouraged to seek opportunities to work across Parliament in the fulfillment of these commitments and to identify additional priorities.
I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on the many daily decisions necessary to ensure the achievement of your priorities, the effective running of the government and better services for Canadians. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions so that they are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our Government.
Our ability, as a government, to implement our priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it, including elements that have been added to strengthen it, and ensure that your staff does so as well. I expect that in staffing your offices you will hire people who reflect the diversity of Canada, and that you will uphold principles of gender equality, disability equality, pay equity and inclusion.
Give particular attention to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.
I will note that you are responsible for ensuring that your Minister’s Office meets the highest standards of professionalism and that it is a safe, respectful, rewarding and welcoming place for your staff to work.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. It is incumbent on you to turn to me and the Deputy Prime Minister early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada