Canada’s top bureaucrat announces departure a day after the government’s fall economic update

 Canada’s top bureaucrat announces departure a day after the government’s fall economic update

Paul Rochon, Finance Canada’s highest-ranking bureaucrat for the past six and a half years, announced internally on Tuesday that he would be stepping down from the job effective December 14.

According to a resignation note sent to staff Tuesday, Rochon says that it has been an “honour” to work as head of Finance Canada “over a period that has been as challenging as it has been fascinating.”

Finance Canada’s top bureaucrat announces departure a day after the government’s fall economic update

The letter does not detail why he is stepping down from Finance Canada’s top job.

“Throughout this period, you have provided sound and innovative responses to the array of policy issues that faces the government and the Minister of Finance,” Rochon wrote to his department colleagues.

In his note, the deputy minister highlights the department’s work that he says allowed Canada to: “escape the ravages” of the 2008 financial crisis, enter the COVID-19 pandemic “in a strong fiscal position,” have a highly regarded public pension system, and put in place policies “that lessened the build-up in household indebtedness thereby avoiding potentially devastating impacts on households.”

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The deputy minister also thanked a long list of finance department officials for their work. There is no mention of the work done by political staff or current Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the memo.

“Paul has served Canada and has distinguished himself as a great Deputy Minister of Finance — through this current crisis and over the past six years. 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,” Freeland reacted in a statement.

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Rochon’s announcement comes on the heels of the Trudeau government’s fall economic statement, which foresees a $380-billion deficit in 2020 all the while planning for to up $100 billion in additional spending to help navigate the country through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am deeply grateful to Paul for ensuring my smooth transition into the Finance portfolio and for his tremendously hard work on the Fall Economic Statement. His counsel has been invaluable to me in these recent months,” Freeland’s statement reads.

Rochon’s retirement from the public service also comes less than four months after the sudden resignation of former Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whom Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replaced with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

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