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

Comox and the school district are looking at formalizing a piece of school property for a dog park. Black Press file photo
School District 71, Comox work on formal dog park agreement

The site on unused school district property is already being used by dog owners

Lake Trail Middle school in Courtenay. File photo
Lake Trail Middle School closed due to threat

The credibility of the threat is being assessed and the investigation is being completed

The 19th annual Gingerbread Village & Teddy Bear Baskets Silent Auction runs online from Dec. 1-18. Photo supplied
Crown Isle’s annual Gingerbread Village & Teddy Bear Baskets Silent Auction goes online for 2020

Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community hosts the 19th annual Gingerbread Village… Continue reading

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

Canadian Tire Courtenay’s Owner Bert Heeringa and General Manager Keith Pistell displaying the donated sanitizer. Photo supplied.
Courtenay Canadian Tire donates 2,400 litres of hand sanitizer to local not-for-profits

Organizations can request sanitizer via the Comox Valley Community Foundation

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

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

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Port McNeill councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

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

Most Read