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

West Shore RCMP arrested four suspects in connection with an armed robbery that occurred in View Royal Nov. 26. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP arrests four following armed robbery

A victim was assaulted and robbed in View Royal early Thursday morning

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

A 43-year-old woman is facing charges for impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash after attempting to flee from police by driving down the beach in front of the Oak Bay Marina on Nov. 23. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter)
Victoria woman drives over seawall onto beach near Oak Bay Marina

Driver faces charges for fleeing crash, refusing breathalyzer test

West Shore RCMP saved a Langford man’s life on Nov. 26 after administering several doses of naloxone spray. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media)
West Shore RCMP save man from potentially fatal overdose

Officers administered several doses of naloxone before sending the man to hospital

Sig
Traffic delays expected on Monday from highway construction in Sooke

Single-lane alternating traffic between Otter Road and Caldwell Road

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Most Read