OTTAWA — Without the House sitting in a manner that would allow for a confidence vote, and with the Official Opposition lacking a permanent leader, outgoing leader Andrew Scheer is imploring Liberal MPs to take action and oust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as leader of their party over the WE Charity controversy.
Scheer said that Liberal MPs have a choice to make.
“Are they prepared to sacrifice their personal integrity to protect their scandal-plagued leader, and to cover up corruption? Or are they willing to take a stand and demand that Trudeau step aside? If the Liberals refuse to act, they sit on their hands and say nothing, then they are implicitly approving this corrupt behavior, and they will be just as guilty as Justin Trudeau is,” he said during a Friday morning press conference in Regina, outlining his party’s perspective on the ongoing affair.
The Conservatives and other opposition parties continue to push for more answers and have launched three separate committee probes. They have also prompted the ethics commissioner to launch conflict of interest investigations into both Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s dealings in regards to a $912-million student service grant program that WE Charity was set to administer.
WE Charity backed away from the program after a series of headlines about their own internal issues as well as others calling into question Trudeau’s ethics and the potential conflict of interest he and his finance minister may have put themselves in by not recusing themselves from the decision-making table on the deal, given their close family connections to the organization.
“Despite all of the obvious conflicts of interest, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau failed to recuse themselves from the cabinet… We know that Justin Trudeau has repeatedly tried to use the pandemic to amass power for himself to reward his friends. These facts alone are disturbing enough, but perhaps even more so is what we still don’t know,” Scheer said.
Part of that picture will be provided to the House of Commons ethics committee, where opposition MPs have teamed up to demand financial documents from the Trudeau family related to their past speaking engagement contracts.
As well, Trudeau and his top staffer Katie Telford have accepted invitations to appear before the House Finance Committee, where Morneau revealed earlier this week that he had just paid WE Charity back $41,366 in outstanding expenses that the organization covered for two trips his family took in 2017, and that his wife has made $100,000 in donations to the organization in recent years.
“Normally, these would be fireable offenses. In the past, ministers have been forced to resign for much less. So why hasn’t Bill Morneau been fired? Why haven’t Liberal MPs demanded that Justin Trudeau stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party?” Scheer said.
Following Morneau’s testimony, several of his cabinet colleagues have spoken out saying they still have confidence in him and support him staying on as the finance minister.
“Yes, I do have full confidence in minister Morneau. He has been working very hard… And I believe that he has explained himself and testified in front of the finance committee,” said Minister of Middle Class Prosperity Mona Fortier on Friday.
But as the Conservative party continues to call for the resignations of both Trudeau and Morneau, they have not indicated any desire to push for a confidence vote and snap election earlier than mid-September when the House of Commons is scheduled to reconvene, after Scheer’s replacement is named.
“I don’t believe he deserves to govern this country. His party received the most seats in the last election, he failed to receive the largest amount of votes but he did receive the largest number of seats, so the Liberal Party of Canada has a right to govern this minority Parliament for as long as they are able to find the support of at least one other party, but there is nothing written that says that that must be Justin Trudeau,” Scheer said.
Scheer had also previously called for Trudeau to resign over the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
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