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Rochon’s departure means that the Liberals will have changed both their finance minister and the head of the finance department in the span of a few months, all the while navigating the worst economic crisis in modern Canadian history caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But his resignation did not come as a surprise to some sources on Tuesday, who pointed to a September National Post report on speculation that Freeland might be replace Rochon with Carolyn Wilkins, then senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada.
Rochon is an excellent public servant. He was an island of fiscal sanity within this government
Wilkins has since announced that she would be stepping down from her role at the Bank effective December 9.
“I expect the government will be announcing your new Deputy Minister shortly. I know that you will provide the new DM the very high quality support and advice that is your trademark,” Rochon noted in his memo. “I hope that you are proud of what you have achieved.”
But two sources with knowledge of the inner workings at Finance Canada said that two other people are now part of the job speculation.
The first is Louise Levonian, currently the International Monetary Fund’s executive director for Canada and a former federal bureaucrat. The second is Chris Forbes, a former associate deputy minister of finance and current deputy minister at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Both sources were granted anonymity so as to speak freely.
“I’m not going to comment on new DM. That will be announced in due course,” responded Chrystia Freeland’s director of communications, Alex Lawrence.