Green Party Leader Annamie Paul talks about the party’s position on the government’s speech from the throne during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul talks about the party’s position on the government’s speech from the throne during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Liberal minority survives confidence vote in the Commons with NDP and Green backing

Greens’ leader said it wasn’t the time for a high-stakes game of chicken’

The Liberal minority government survives another day after a majority of MPs voted against a Conservative motion to create a special anticorruption committee.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had declared the vote on the Conservative motion a confidence measure, meaning that a vote in the Commons to pass it would have triggered an election.

The New Democrats ended up voting against the motion, providing the Liberals all the support they needed, after Jagmeet Singh said his party would not give the Liberals an excuse to head to the polls.

“People need help right now. They need confidence in the future. They’re not looking for an election. So New Democrats will not give Prime Minister Trudeau the election he’s looking for,” Singh said earlier Wednesday.

The Greens also voted against it.

“This is not the moment for us to plunge our country unnecessarily into an election because the Liberals and Conservatives are engaged in their high-stakes game of chicken,” Green party Leader Annamie Paul said Wednesday.

“We want Parliament to do what it has been doing well during the pandemic, which is putting partisan interests aside to get people the urgent help that they need.”

Two Independent MPs also voted against the motion, while the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois voted in favour.

That brought the result to 180 against the motion and 146 in favour.

The showdown was over the scope and composition of a House of Commons committee that would have investigated the WE Charity affair and other issues the Conservatives said reek of Ottawa sending pandemic-related funding to Liberal friends.

The Conservatives had been willing to drop “anticorruption” from the name of their proposed committee but the Liberals argued the intent remained the same and so stood by the choice to make it a confidence issue.

The failed motion would have given the committee broad powers to call witnesses, including the prime minister and other ministers, and to demand documents on a range of issues, including the speaking fees drawn by Trudeau’s mother and brother over the past 12 years.

READ MORE: Trudeau Liberals face confidence vote over proposed anticorruption committee

The Liberals maintain the committee would have amounted to an endless fishing expedition that would paralyze the government when it should be focused on helping Canadians get through the second wave of the pandemic.

They have proposed their own special committee to examine all government pandemic-related spending, including but not exclusively the WE affair and other matters the Opposition deems suspicious.

New Democrats said the Conservative motion was “over the top,” but they’ve also said the Liberal counter-proposal isn’t good enough — particularly since it calls for a Liberal chair rather than allowing an opposition member to preside.

The NDP proposed another solution Wednesday: a “COVID Accountability Study” that would see the ethics committee scrutinize alleged conflicts of interest in pandemic spending by the government.

The motion to be put forward by NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus highlighted the Canada Student Service Grant as one of the areas to investigate.

The Tories’ attempt to create a new committee came after the Liberals filibustered opposition attempts to revive their investigations into the WE affair at the Commons finance and ethics committees, whose probes were shut down when Trudeau prorogued Parliament in August.

The controversy revolves around the government’s decision last June to pay WE Charity $43.5 million to administer a now-cancelled student service grant program, despite Trudeau’s long-standing family ties to the organization.

Trudeau has said public servants recommended WE as the only group that could manage the program. He has nevertheless apologized for not recusing himself from the decision to involve WE, as has former finance minister Bill Morneau, who also has close family ties to WE.

Both Trudeau and Morneau are under investigation by the federal ethics commissioner for possible violations of the Conflict of Interest Act.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Liberals

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

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

This dark blue 2004 Ford 350 truck (with winches and a headache rack) was stolen from a property on Lodgepole Road in Barriere anywhere between the time of 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. (Myram Facebook photo)
Truck stolen in Barriere last Monday – information sought

“Too much theft going on and no repercussions” says local

An animal at large, such as a dog running elsewhere than on the property of its owner, is one of many restrictions under the District of Clearwater's animal control bylaw. (Pixabay)
Facebook post causes stir around animal control

A resolution passed at the Nov. 3 District of Clearwater regular council… Continue reading

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

File photo
Investigation of break-and-enter on-going

Submitted by Sgt. G.D. Simpson November 21 Clearwater RCMP received a call… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”
Free ‘Hollywood Suite’ movies in December include ‘Keanussance’ titles starring Keanu Reeves

Also featured is the Israeli-made ‘Valley of Tears,’ a 10-part war drama

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Most Read