Liberals propose special committee to examine pandemic-related spending

Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA — The minority Liberal government is proposing a special House of Commons committee to examine billions of dollars of COVID-19 pandemic-related spending.

The proposal is an attempt to pre-empt a Conservative party motion to create a special “anti-corruption” committee that would zero in exclusively on what the official Opposition considers scandals — including the decision to have WE Charity manage a student services grant program, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s close family ties to the organization.

The Conservative motion is slated for debate and a vote next week and government House leader Pablo Rodriguez is not ruling out making it a test of confidence in the minority government.

He says the Conservative motion is “pure partisan politics” aimed at “totally jamming the government” when it should be focused on helping Canadians weather the second wave of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

By contrast, Rodriguez says he is proposing “a serious committee” that will do “serious work” and which could help the government improve emergency programs to help cope with the pandemic.

Rodriguez says he’s been discussing the proposal with the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP, both of which have also floated the idea of creating a special committee to take over the WE investigation and look into other alleged misuses of public funds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press