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

The Bay Hotel burned to the ground last night (Christina Hoppe photo)
Bay Hotel burns to the ground in early morning fire

The building was abandoned and had been falling apart for years

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

So far Northern Lights Wildlife Society has received five grizzly bear cubs from Bella Coola this year (NLWS photo)
Another sow grizzly destroyed; two more cubs sent to Northern Lights Wildlife Society

A total of five grizzly bear cubs have been sent to Northern Lights Wildlife Society from Bella Coola

Logs are piled up at West Fraser Timber in Quesnel, B.C., on April 21, 2009. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire Norbord Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $4.0 billion.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
West Fraser Timber to acquire Norbord in all-stock deal valued at $4B

Shareholders are being offered 0.675 of a West Fraser share for each Norbord share

The 4.1 magnitude earthquake detected on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, is shown in pink. (Earthquakes Canada)
4.1 magnitude earthquake detected near Haida Gwaii

Event happened about 40 kilometres southwest of Village of Queen Charlotte

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

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

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Most Read