Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre throws a redacted document tabled at the House of Commons Finance Committee provided by the Government during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre throws a redacted document tabled at the House of Commons Finance Committee provided by the Government during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Tories say they want full truth of WE Charity scandal out before next election

Trudeau said he does not want an election this fall

Conservative MPs say they want all the facts to come out about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the WE Charity student grant contract before deciding whether to trigger a federal election.

Michael Barrett, the Conservative ethics critic, accused Trudeau of proroguing Parliament this week to hide his involvement in the decision to award a multimillion-dollar contract to WE, an organization with which he has close family ties.

Trudeau said Tuesday he had asked to have Parliament prorogued until Sept. 23 so the Liberal government can return that day with a speech from the throne that will outline its plans for the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. He said the government needs a reset because the pandemic wasn’t ever part of its original plan laid out in a throne speech after last fall’s federal election.

The move also, however, ended the current work — at least temporarily — of several House of Commons committees investigating how the Liberal government decided to have the WE organization administer the Canada Student Service Grant.

“If this was about introducing a speech from the throne, the reset he was looking for, he could have prorogued on Sept. 22 and delivered that speech on the 23rd,” Barrett said Wednesday in Ottawa.

“This is about one thing and one thing only. It’s about hiding from the truth, avoiding accountability. And it’s his architecture of a coverup.”

The speech from the throne will involve a confidence test in the minority Liberal government, and if opposition parties all vote against it the government would fall, likely triggering an election. The prospect of a federal campaign in the midst of a pandemic is prompting MPs to think hard about what to do with that vote. The Conservatives are not committing to bringing the government down next month.

The results of the Conservative leadership race will be revealed on Sunday and Barrett said the winner will lead the party’s decision-making on the throne speech.

“Unlike the Liberals, we are not solely focused on the scandals that have the curtains burning in the Prime Minister’s Office,” he said. “There are a number of issues affecting Canadians. We’re in a global pandemic. We’re in recessionary times.”

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said he thinks Trudeau would love to have an election before opposition MPs can force the government to cough up all the details about what happened with the WE contract.

Trudeau said Tuesday he does not want an election this fall.

The contract in question would have paid the WE organization $43.5 million to administer the grant program, which was intended provide funds to students who volunteered this summer. The agreement stipulated the organization could not make money on the deal.

Both Trudeau and Bill Morneau, who resigned as finance minister earlier this week, are being investigated by the federal ethics watchdog over whether they violated the Conflict of Interest Act over the WE Charity deal.

Morneau’s daughter works for the organization and Trudeau and his family have participated in multiple WE events. Trudeau was not paid for his appearances or speeches but his mother and brother were. His wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, was paid for one appearance before Trudeau was prime minister.

Both Trudeau and Morneau have apologized for not recusing themselves from the decision to award the contract to WE.

Trudeau has maintained that it was the federal public service that recommended WE administer the program.

But the Conservatives say thousands of pages of documents released by the government Tuesday show civil servants were pressured to do so by their “political masters” and were aware of the relationships between Trudeau, Morneau and WE.

READ MORE: Docs suggest bureaucrats were nudged to look to WE Charity for student program

Morneau resigned as finance minister Monday, saying he didn’t plan to run in the next election and Trudeau needed a finance minister who could lead the party through the whole pandemic recovery.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has threatened to bring down the government as soon as he can, but left the door open to supporting the throne speech if the Liberals include his demands for more support for Quebec seniors, health care and agricultural producers in supply-managed sectors.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he is focused on making government work so Canadians can get the help they need to get through this pandemic and its economic recession, but he said it is up to the Liberals to show they want to help average Canadians and not just their own well-connected friends.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Conservative Party of CanadaCoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy: Echo Lacombe Association logo.
Lacombe City Council supports Echo Lacombe with location for pilot program

Echo Lacombe Association will run a pilot propgram on food rescue until November, 1, 2021

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Most Read