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In mandate letter, PM tells Freeland to spend on temporary measures until crisis ends

Last Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm MST

Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland delivers the 2020 fiscal update in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is putting a caveat on orders to his finance minister to spend as needed until the end of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

In a mandate letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau says she should use “whatever fiscal firepower” is needed over the coming weeks and months until the economy improves.

But in doing so, Trudeau writes, Freeland must “avoid creating new permanent spending.”

He adds that any plan to regrow the economy must be guided by a budgetary goal to make sure spending doesn’t go adrift.

The detail is contained in updated mandate letters the Prime Minister’s Office made public today, months after it reset the parliamentary agenda with a late-September throne speech.

In the letters, Trudeau notes the new marching orders add to those laid out to ministers shortly after the Liberals won a minority mandate in the 2019 federal election.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press