Mark Machin resigned as director of The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board after he went to the United Arab Emirates and received a Covid-19 vaccine, challenging the Justin Trudeau government’s guidance to avoid international travel.
Machin tendered his resignation after discussions with the board last night, said the C $ 476 billion ($ 377 billion) pension fund in a statement on Friday morning. John Graham, the fund’s global chief investment officer, has been appointed to replace him as chief executive officer.
The office of Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had criticized Machin after the Wall Street Journal. revealed the trip Thursday night. The northern nation is still struggling to intensify its own immunization campaign against the virus.
Although leaving the country is not illegal, Trudeau and his ministers have repeatedly warned residents not to do so and have imposed strict rules to discourage travel, including hotel quarantines for those returning from international locations. Canadian airlines canceled all flights to several popular destinations, including Mexico.
Machin’s trip threatened to turn into a political headache for Trudeau. CPPIB’s senior executive reports to a government-appointed board, but the directors are entrepreneurs, including Nutrien Ltd. CEO Chuck Magro and Royal Bank of Canada President Kathleen Taylor, not political figures.
The government’s policy is to avoid political interference in the affairs of CPPIB. But there is growing impatience with the pace of the vaccine launch in Canada, which has been the slowest among the Group of Seven countries except Japan, and there is little public tolerance towards public officials who are seen as jumping the jackpot. line.
Freeland spoke with CPPIB President Heather Munroe-Blum on Friday morning “and made it clear that Canadians place their trust in the CPPIB and expect it to be held to a higher standard,” said Katherine Cuplinskas, spokeswoman for the Minister of Finance, by email.
“While the CPPIB is an independent organization, we are very disappointed by this troubling situation and we support the swift action taken by the Board of Directors,” he wrote. The finance department was not aware of Machin’s trip, he said, referring further questions to the CPPIB.
Despite getting more doses per capita than any other nation, Canada has given enough injections to vaccinate only 4.5% of its population once, compared to 29% in the UK and 20.6% in the United Kingdom. USA, According to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. That’s because Canada has to import the vaccines and shipments have been delayed.
Recent public opinion has turned against officials who defy the government’s pleas not to leave the country: Rod Phillips, Ontario’s finance minister, was Forced to resign on December 31 after it was revealed that he took a vacation in the Caribbean at a time when many companies in the province were ordered to close their doors to contain the virus.
With vaccine deliveries now accelerating after delays caused in part by export controls in the European Union, Trudeau maintains that all Canadians will be vaccinated by the end of September.
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(Updates with more information from the fourth paragraph)