Opposition stops listening as the Liberal Party refuses to let staff testify again

Ottawa — Opposition lawmakers closed a parliamentary commission that held a hearing on Wednesday. After the Liberal government again refused to show the politician secretary to answer questions about the now dead deal with WE charity.

Members of the House of Commons Ethics Committee called on Amit Pal Singh, senior adviser to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, to testify last week after a majority of parliamentarians passed a conservative-sponsored motion. ..

The motion allowed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appear before the Commission.

However, the Liberal government, which ordered political staff not to appear before the commission, replaced Finance Minister Mona Fortier in place of Shin, who worked during Bill Morneau’s time as Finance Minister.

It was the second time that the minister had replaced the aide to the minister after the government’s patriarch Pablo Rodriguez replaced Trudeau’s director of policy earlier this week.

The committee finally decided to hear what Rodriguez had to say on Monday, but opposition members refused to do the same as Fortier and instead postponed the meeting after just 20 minutes. Used the majority to do.

“The government has devalued and downplayed the Canadian Parliament by preventing witnesses from witnessing … against Commons’ orders,” conservative ethic critic Michael Barrett said before calling for a postponement. Told to.

A motion passed by the House of Commons last Thursday asked Shin, Trudeau’s policymaker Rick Tace, and Prime Minister’s senior adviser Ben Chin in front of the Ethics Committee to ask questions about WE’s trade. Asked to answer.

Also, Jita Astrabas, a former Chief of Staff of Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and now in the same position at the office of Public Security Minister Bill Blair, will discuss military sexual misconduct on the Commons Defense Commission. I asked him to appear before.

Trudeau was invited to attend on their behalf if the government so desires.

The government, in turn, accused opposition lawmakers of attempting to intimidate and abuse political staff who were not elected, claiming that the minister was ultimately responsible for those working in their offices.

Rodriguez and members of the liberal committee also blame opponents for pulling out ethics committee research on WE to earn cheap political points and learn little about how the deal was put together. It suggests that.

Before the commission closed, Bloc Québécois Rep. Real Fortin accused the government in French of “blatantly opposed” to the House of Commons, ignoring motions calling for senior political staff or Trudeau to appear. ..

“Canada has always thought that decisions should be democratic and that the House of Representatives decisions should be a democratic country of some value,” he said. “Still, government members are blatantly opposed to the House of Representatives.”

The only deal with WE was announced last spring to allow a Toronto-based youth organization to implement a Canadian Student Services Grant Program designed to reward students who volunteered during the COVID-19 pandemic 4350. You’ve seen you paid $ 10,000.

The agreement was then withdrawn following questions and concerns about the prime minister’s close relationship with his family before the $ 543 million program was completely cancelled.

Liberal and WE co-founders Craig and Mark Keelberger argued that it was nonpartisan civil servants who came up with the idea of ​​having the organization run a grant program.

However, the Conservatives have withheld some of the thousands of email exchanges and other documents released by the government in August after Trudeau testified, as evidence that the arrangement was dictated by the Liberal Party.

The Ethics Commissioner is currently investigating both Trudeau and Morneau. Trudeau and Morneau left federal politics in August after suddenly resigning from the finance minister over potential conflicts of interest related to the deal.

By Lee Berthiaume