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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
750 new COVID-19 cases identified in Alberta Sunday

Central zone currently has 1,182 active cases of the virus

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

Most Read