Scheer says Trudeau ‘thumbing nose’ at Canadians as Liberals vote to shut down SNC-Lavalin probe
|National Post 19 Mar 2019 at 10:53|
Opposition MPs on the House of Commons justice committee stormed out of the committee meeting today after dominant Liberals MPs voted to end any further probe into the SNC-Lavalin scandal, opting for a motion to discuss other issues such as hate crime.
Conservative and New Democrat MPs unsuccessfully pressed the House of Commons justice committee Tuesday to recall former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould so she could shed more light on the simmering controversy.
Instead, Liberal staffers handed reporters documents at the meeting describing a motion to address ‘an increase in hate crimes’, advocating for legislative amendments to reduce its digital propagation and to draft a report by June.
The motion this morning came after a letter late Monday to chair Anthony Housefather in which five Liberal MPs on the committee indicated that they were keen to leave remaining investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair to the ethics commissioner and to block any further testimony from Wilson-Raybould, the former minister of justice and the attorney general.
“We’ve heard 13 hours of comprehensive testimony from over 10 witnesses,” states the letter from the five Liberals. “No witness was prevented from providing evidence on any relevant information during the period covered by the waiver, which was the focus of the Committee’s review.”
“Canadians can judge for themselves the facts, the perspectives and relevant legal principles.”
Justin Trudeau has lawyered up. His Liberal MPs will shut down the Justice Committee. The only possible conclusion Canadians can reach is that Trudeau is engaged in a massive cover-up. https://t.co/J3TzAJXLk0
But Wilson-Raybould, who has already given nearly four hours of testimony, has indicated that she has more to say, particularly about the period between her mid-January move from Justice to Veteran Affairs and her resignation from cabinet a month later.
Opposition MPs had also asked for her return to the committee, after noting inconsistencies between Wilson-Raybould’s testimony and subsequent version of events from former principal secretary Gerald Butts and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick.
Conservative and New Democrat MPs say Canadians need to hear more about the affair. “What happened today is absolutely outrageous,” said Conservative committee member Michael Cooper.
“If there was ever evidence needed that Liberal MPs on the justice committee are agents of the prime minister, doing the work of the prime minister to cover-up the prime minister’s misdeeds, then one need only look at what happened at this meeting today where the Liberals have shut down the process.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “thumbing his nose” at Canadians, and said the official Opposition would use “every tool available to us” to hold the government accountable in Parliament.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is to deliver his budget speech at 4 p.m. in the House of Commons, but Scheer repeatedly sidestepped questions about what, if anything, the Opposition could or would do to delay the presentation.
However, the Conservatives have forced a vote on a motion to allow MPs studying fisheries to travel, which could delay Morneau’s speech at least 35 minutes.
Scheer called the government’s budget “a political prop” in its “unprecedented cover-up” of the affair that has rocked the Liberal cabinet and prompted Trudeau’s top adviser and the country’s most senior public servant to resign.
The letter, signed by Randy Boissonnault, Iqra Khalid, Ali Ehsassi, Ron McKinnon and Colin Fraser, stated that the committee approached the investigation with an “open mind” and afforded testimonial opportunities for all those involved.
“Traditionally Cabinet confidence and Solicitor-Client privilege would have prevented several of these witnesses from disclosing much of what they did divulge to the Committee,” the letter read. “We appreciate that the Government took the extraordinary step of waiving these confidences.”
The letter also accused the opposition of rushing ‘to judgement even before hearing all the relevant information.”
The actions stated in the letter have been criticized by NDP and Conservative leaders alike. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called the move “a massive coverup” and condemned Trudeau on social media.
“Justin Trudeau has lawyered up. His Liberal MPs will shut down the Justice committee. The only possible conclusion Canadians can reach is that Trudeau is engaged in a massive coverup,” he said.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh agreed with Scheer. “That means no more testimony and no more answers that you deserve,” he said on Twitter.
This isn’t the first time the Liberals have been accused of silencing the debate around the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Opposition MPs on the committee erupted with the words ‘coverup’ and ‘shame’ on March 13, after Liberal MP Francis Drouin “expressed” the committee’s wishes to delay the debate around Wilson-Raybould’s second testimony.
He routinely switches false beards, moustaches and hairstyles, even fake tattoos. She swaps wigs, scarves, glasses. Both have a catalog of fantasy names
Presented with the information, Ontario s Ministry of Health said it will take no action because chiropractic is a self-regulated health profession
Since it was introduced in 2017, thousands of mothers and fathers have collected their “Vaccine Education Certificate,” then continued to duck the shots for their children
I am reminded of the Gomery inquiry. Quid pro quos, greasy influence over civil servants, too much power in the PMO: It all seems awfully familiar, doesn’t it?