Opposition lawmakers express anger and testify about WE as Liberal Party leaders rather than Special Adviser to the Prime Minister


Parliamentary hearings on the now dead deal with federal WE charity confuse Monday after the Liberal Party sent ministers to answer questions on behalf of one of Ottawa’s senior aides to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Threatened.

Members of the House of Commons ethics committee hope to hear from Trudeau’s policymaker, Rick Tace, after the opposition demanded that the opposition use a majority in parliament to answer questions about WE’s transactions last week. Was there.

Government building leader Pablo Rodriguez appeared in a conference call instead, despite admitting he wasn’t directly involved in the multi-million dollar agreement to implement a federal student grant program last summer. did.

The commission eventually chose to listen to Rodriguez’s remarks instead of Thaïs, but opposition lawmakers repeatedly criticized his testimony for nearly three hours, and the Liberal Party ignored Congress’s will and attempted concealment. I blamed him.

The Conservatives suspect that the Liberal Party is leading the deal to WE charity because the organization is so closely associated with Trudeau’s family members.

Rodriguez and members of the liberal committee have drawn the committee’s research on WE to blame opponents for trying to earn cheap political points and learn little about how the deal was closed. Suggested.

The battle was set from the start of the meeting as chairman Chris Wakentin struggled to maintain order and opposition and Liberal members talked to each other and blamed the thorns.

Workentin himself described the appearance of Rodriguez, who represents Thaïs, as an “abnormal situation” in a vote last week to hear from the Prime Minister or several senior political staff at Commons.

Opposition lawmakers heard Rodriguez’s testimony, but suggested that he would still call on the prime minister or Tace and other senior political staff to testify in the future.

Rodriguez said the opposition had used the committee’s hearing to accuse him of “threatening and abusing political personnel” and was there on behalf of the ultimate responsible cabinet.

He also suggested that he only followed the precedent set by Stephen Harper’s former conservative government, which ministers refused to testify to the Commission in 2010. Harper led a minority government like Trudeau today.

Rodriguez’s testimony largely reiterated what the government had previously said about the decision to have WE manage the $ 543 million Canadian Student Services Grant Program before it was canceled in early July.

This included claims that nonpartisan civil servants were responsible for choosing a Toronto-based organization founded by Craig and Marc Kielburger to carry out the grant program.

Rodriguez replayed a telephone conversation that Theis had with WE on May 5, and Trudeau’s aide said the call would last about 25 minutes, and charities added diversity and inclusiveness to the grant program. He said he focused on how to ensure that the degree was included.

Still, Rodriguez, who said he had spoken to Tace on Sunday and Monday prior to the Commission’s meeting, was able to answer several questions, including details of the aide’s telephone conversation with WE in May. There wasn’t.

“You testify for him here today, but you claim you know nothing about what he did,” said conservative MP Pierre Poirievre. “That’s why it’s hard to understand what you can share.”

Rodriguez was also accused by opposition members of some of the thousands of pages of documents produced by the government last summer as inconsistent with the deal.

Rodriguez counterattacked by accusing Poirievre of choosing cherries from the page, suggesting that the questions asked by the Commission had already been answered in previous testimony.

“I think Poilievre is looking for the information he already has,” he said. “And there’s nothing new here.”

The Commission, which is also seeking contact from Trudeau’s senior adviser Ben Chin and Chrystia Freeland’s senior adviser Amit Pal Singh, will continue the investigation on Wednesday.

The arrangement between the government and WE collapsed last year following questions and concerns about the organization’s close relationship with members of the Prime Minister’s family before the student grant program was completely revoked.

It also led to the end of WE Charity’s Canadian operations.

By Lee Berthiaume