Nik Nanos: Liberals will probably seek new finance minister in next cabinet shuffle
It’s gone from bad to worse for Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
A new Nanos survey released Monday shows four out of every 10 Canadians want to see a new finance minister as public opinion sours over Morneau’s controversial small business tax changes and the handling of his personal finances.
Furthermore, Nanos Research Group Chairman Nik Nanos says the public outcry will likely cost him his file.
“I think maybe one prediction we can make, perhaps with some sort of certainty, is that he won’t be the minister of finance going into the next federal election,” Nanos told BNN in an interview on Monday.
“It’s a no-win situation — just because of his personal financial situation — for him to be the key advocate for the middle class,” Nanos added.
“I would expect he’s going to stay for the time being. They’ll need to put some distance between today’s furor and when the next cabinet shuffle happens, but I would expect that - come the next cabinet shuffle - the Liberals will probably look to put a fresh face in that particular department to gear up for the next federal election.”
Twenty-nine per cent of respondents to the Nanos survey said Morneau should continue in his role, while 31 per cent were unsure.
The critical stance is most pronounced in the Conservative-bastion of the prairies, where more than half of respondents said it was time for a new finance minister, followed by Atlantic Canada. Central Canadians were more forgiving, with 42.1 per cent of Ontarians calling for a replacement and only 31.6 per cent in Quebec.
There’s little in the way of comparison for such sour sentiment, according to Nanos. He said he’d never seen a need to conduct a poll of this manner, and that most finance ministers don’t run into the types of problems that have beset Morneau.
The poll also casts doubt on whether the Federal Liberals’ claims of working on behalf of the middle-class are being heard by Canadians.
A mere 14 per cent of respondents said they thought the economic policies implemented by Ottawa benefit middle-income Canadians, while more than 40 per cent thought they were a boost to the high-income earners.
The poll comes on the heels of another Nanos report indicating 34 per cent of Canadians thought the finance minister is doing a poor job, once again with the brunt of the negative sentiment emanating from the Prairies.
Of particular focus is Morneau’s disclosure, or lack thereof, of assets held in numbered companies and his continued stake in the family firm, Morneau Shepell.
In the latest poll, 75 per cent of respondents said the finance minister should have sold his assets or put them in a blind trust, rather than the privacy screen he put in place.
Morneau announced last month he would sell his stake in Morneau Shepell, donate the dividends and share price appreciation to charity, and place the remainder of his assets in a blind trust.
“It’s shifted from a policy kind of fight to, now, it’s a fight related to his personal brand,” Nanos told BNN. “It’s about the minister of finance, as opposed to finance policy right now. And, I think that’s why his numbers are soft.”
The poll was conducted from November 4-7, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.