Canada Federal Election Appears To Be Averted As NDP Vows To Vote Against Conservative Motion
Liberals threaten to call election if Parliament passes 'anti-corruption' committee motion
OTTAWA – The Liberals are threatening to send Canadians to the polls if Parliament passes an opposition motion to create an “anti-corruption” committee, calling the Conservative proposal “ultra-partisan” and “irresponsible.” On Monday, Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez expressed frustration at the Conservatives’ push for the committee, which would be composed of 15 MPs tasked with delving into the WE Charity scandal and other possible conflicts of interest involving the Liberals.
OTTAWA — NDP Leader says his party will vote against a contentious motion, sparing the country from going to the polls — for now.
Canadians are looking for help right now, he told reporters. “They are not looking for an election.”
“New Democrats will not give Prime Minister Trudeau the election he is looking for. We’re not going to be used as an excuse or a cover,” he added.
The motion introduced by Conservative Leader proposes the creation of a new House of Commons committee to study the controversy, alleged lobbying by the husband of Prime Minister ’s chief of staff Katie Telford, and contracts awarded to firms with Liberal ties, as well as other “potential scandals” related to the spending.
O'Toole says creating committee to scrutinize Liberal spending, ethics is not grounds for election
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says creating a special committee to unearth details about potential misuse of tax dollars during the pandemic does not constitute legitimate grounds for triggering a general election. During a news conference in Ottawa, O'Toole said striking a so-called "anti-corruption" committee to scrutinize government spending, lobbying and the delivery of federal aid programs is simply about holding the government to account on potential misspending and ethical lapses.
O’Toole told reporters earlier this week that new details continue to emerge that “paint a concerning picture of potential corruption at very high levels of the government.”
He didn’t want an election, he said, but he also had no confidence in the government.
Wednesday morning, Bloc Québécois House leader Alain Therrien urged the NDP to vote with the opposition in defeating the government. “This government is starting to look more and more like a club of cronyism, who take money from public funds and to give to their friends,” he said. “We must absolutely stop this government.”
Singh had previously said that if the country heads to the polls it is squarely the fault of the Liberals.
“The only way there is an election right now is because the prime minister chooses to have one.”
NDP won't give Trudeau 'excuse' for election, Singh says ahead of confidence vote in Commons
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today that his party will not give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau an "excuse" to send Canadians to the polls in the middle of a global pandemic — an apparent signal that Trudeau's government will survive today's confidence vote. In a news conference just two hours before a crucial confidence vote, Singh declined to say exactly how his MPs would vote or whether they might abstain. "We are voting for Canadians. We are voting against an election," he said.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberals don’t want an election but as a minority government, the Grits cannot continue to govern and pass legislation, such as help for small businesses, without opposition cooperation.
“We need the confidence of the House to do our job,” she said Wednesday. “The ball is in the opposition’s court.”
Originally pitched as an “anti-corruption committee,” the Conservatives on Tuesday re-named it a special committee on “allegations of misuse of public funds by the government.”
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez compared the name change to writing a book about Frankenstein and calling it “Cinderella.”
The concession did nothing to change the Liberal government’s view that the opposition is calling the government corrupt, Rodriguez said, and that passing the motion would mean the Grits have lost the confidence of the House.
Shakespearean drama in Parliament over confidence vote slips between thriller and comedy
OTTAWA – What began as a day of high drama – would the federal government fall over a vote to create an “anti-corruption committee” – became much ado about nothing as the Liberals handily won the vote against the Conservative motion with the last-minute help of the NDP and Greens. Wednesday morning, there was a palpable buzz among federal political staff, MPs and journalists. Were Canadians going into a general election in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19 on a non-confidence motion that no one expected in the first place, or not? That was the question.
The calls for the creation of a 15-member committee comprised of six Liberals, five Tories (including a Conservative chair), two Bloc Québécois MPs, and two NDP MPs.
It also states that Trudeau, , Health Minister , Treasury Board President , and Youth Minister may be “ordered to appear as witnesses from time to time, as the committee sees fit.”
Trudeau told Radio-Canada’s New Brunswick morning show Wednesday that the Conservative motion is “toxic” and suggested it would “paralyze” the government while it tries to deal with the pandemic.
“You cannot read the motion and think that someone who is voting for this motion continues to believe that the government has the capacity to manage this pandemic,” Trudeau said.
“If the opposition parties no longer have confidence in this government, that is serious and there are consequences,” he said, still insisting the Liberals don’t want an election.
In addition to investigating the WE Charity controversy and “all aspects” of the ill-fated Canada Student Service Grant program, including relationships between the government and charity co-founders Marc and Craig Kielburger, the motion calls for investigations into:
O’Toole accuses Trudeau of risking public health with threat of confidence vote
Justin Trudeau's minority Liberal government faces another Conservative motion that could trigger the possibility of a snap election.In a press conference with journalists, O'Toole said the goal of the second motion is to focus a health committee review on rapid testing and the public health response to the crisis -- not to try to force an election.
- The alleged lobbying by Rob Silver, Telford’s spouse, over an emergency COVID-19 support program, something the ethics watchdog has already said ;
- “All aspects” related to the purchase and “regulatory approval of ventilators manufactured by, or otherwise associated with, the Baylis Medical Company,” owned by former Liberal MP Frank Baylis;
- “Any other matter connected to the government’s COVID-19 pandemic response measures” that any House standing committee may ask the group to investigate.
The motion also included orders for unredacted documents from WE and Speakers’ Spotlight, the agency that arranged speaking events for Trudeau, his wife, mother and brother, dating back to 2008.
The Liberals counter-offered to create a special committee to review all pandemic-related spending, including the WE affair. Rodriguez said the Tory proposal would only create a “partisan inquisition” that would ensnare private citizens and drag away public servants and political leaders from their focus on the COVID-19 crisis.
O’Toole has said that would just drown out opposition efforts to get to the “truth.”
“They would rather deliver 500 boxes full of spending documents and bog down parliament for months rather than us bring in three boxes of the documents they’ve been avoiding to give us or to remove the blacking out of documents to hide what they actually contain, so which is more reasonable?”
On Wednesday, Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen suggested it was really “quite amazing” that the Liberals would be “willing to throw the country into an election, during a pandemic. Just to cover up whatever he is covering up in the WE scandal.”
More to come…
With files from Zi-Ann Lum
Committee bid to unearth Trudeaus' WE Charity speaking contracts fails when Bloc MP votes 'no' by mistake .
OTTAWA — After enduring nearly three weeks of Liberal filibustering, opposition MPs trying to acquire WE Charity speaking contracts involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife were shut down Monday when a Bloc Québécois MP voted against the initiative — by mistake. It was supposed to be a straightforward vote at the federal ethics committee to force the release of all invoices for the speeches Trudeau and his wife delivered to WE Charity in the past decade. Opposition MPs want to verify how much money WE Charity and its affiliates have paid the Trudeau family in the years leading up to the now-defunct $543.