Morneau CP Economic Newsmaker of Year

At the beginning of 2017, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau was presiding over the early stages of an economic resurgence that would lift growth beyond expectations, create jobs at an impressive clip and help shave billions off his projected budgetary deficits.

But as the holidays loom, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's financial lieutenant is likely licking his wounds after months spent at the centre of several headline-hogging controversies that overshadowed the good economic news.

Morneau's challenges in the second half of 2017 kept him in the news for months, making him an easy choice for the journalists who voted him Canada's 2017 Business Newsmaker of the Year in the annual poll of the country's newsrooms by The Canadian Press.

He won 50% of the votes in a field of nine candidates that also included his counterpart in foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare and the proverbial thorn in Morneau's side: the small business owner.

Morneau's toughest stretch began slowly, with a contentious tax-reform plan released quietly in the dead of summer. Over the following weeks, however, complaints poured in from enraged business owners, doctors, tax experts and even backbenchers within his own Liberal party.

Later, the wealthy former businessman was swarmed by ethical questions over how he handled his substantial personal assets after coming into office. More recently, he faced conflict-of-interest allegations that led the federal ethics commissioner to launch a formal examination and the Opposition's call for his resignation.

Morneau has come to symbolize either unaccountable wealth and excess, or the fight against them.