The controversy over the WE contract, has in part already cost the job of the former finance minister Bill Morneau, and the folding of the Kielburger brothers WE Charity operations in Canada.
The opposition Conservatives have been demanding the investigations continue and today in Parliament say that the Liberal government is using every measure at their disposal to stop the investigations.
The deal for tens of millions of dollars in administration fees for a government student summer employment programme was given as a sole-source contract to the WE Charity which had also provided large payments for Prime Minister Trudeau’s family members in appearance fees at WE events.
The opposition led Parliamentary committees investigating possible ethical violations came to a halt when Liberal Prime Minister justin Trudeau suddenly prorogued Parliament. In the subsequent session the government survived a non-confidence vote, but now the opposition wants to continue investigating the WE ‘scandal’.
The opposition wants to establish a special ‘anti-corruption’ committee which would take over the investigations of several other committees into the WE scandal and other alleged ethical violations or conflicts of interest by the Liberal party.. It would be composed of 15 MP’s
Speaking in Parliament today, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, a former air force officer, said WWII air force veterans told him that at night when they started receiving heavy flak they knew they were over the target, and that the Liberal’s increasing ‘flak’ in terms of tactics used to stop the investigations meant they were ‘over the target” with the Liberals.
They also forcefully criticized a Liberal threat to call an election if Parliament voted to create the committee.
On Monday Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez called the idea “irresponsible” when Parliament should focus on fighting the pandemic.
Rodriquez then sent a letter to opposition members saying that if the motion for a committee was passed it would raise “serious questions” about confidence in the government. The underlying meaning being that could trigger a call by the government
Conservative Gerard Deltell today said the thought that creation of a committee would trigger a snap election in the midst of the pandemic was ‘playing chicken” with the government and Canadian citizens, and then cited Churchill’s speech to the Canadian Parliament during the Second World War, saying, “some chicken some neck”.
He then moved an amendment to the proposal to add that the creation of the committee would not constitute legitimate grounds to call a general election”.
Later Liberal Parliamentary Secretary Kevin Lamoureux spoke to Parliam
ent insisting repeatedly that passing the motion for such a committee would absolutely constitute a lack of confidence in the government and that such a committee would detract from the effort to deal with the pandemic which he said was the priority of government and the priority of Canadians.
Conservative Pierre Polievre yesterday rejected Rodriquez’ comment. Quoted by Post Media, he said,”Is he really suggesting that if the committee looks into Trudeau’s corruption that Trudeau is just going to call an election? No government in Canadian history has been brought down because an opposition motion passed to set up a committee.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said at a Tuesday press conference, “In many parts of Canada, kids can’t go trick-or-treating, but the Liberals think Canadians should go to the polls, rather than their answering several simple questions”.
The separatist Bloc Quebecois opposition supports the Conservative motion while the opposition New Democratic Party has not put forward their position, although NDP member Charlie Angus said that the threat of calling an election rather than have the government answer questions was hypocritical.
The Conservatives also proposed to change the name of the committee from “anti-corruption” to “Special committee on allegations of misuse of public funds by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada”
- National Post: Nardi/Platt: Oct 19/20: Liberals threaten to call election if Parliament passes “anti-corruption’ committee motion.
- Canadian Press (CBC): Oct 18/20: Opposition parties gear up for next round of fight with Liberals over WE controversy
- Globe and Mail; M.Walsh: Oct 20/20: Conservatives push forward bid for special committee despite Liberal election threat
- CBC: A.Wherry: Oct 17/20: Why Parliament could be on the brink of an election, again