Bleary-eyed MPs worked through Thursday night and into the wee hours of Friday morning after Conservatives forced a prolonged vote on over 250 motions, in retaliation to what they said was the Liberals’ attempt to cover up the truth behind the Jaspal Atwal controversy during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s trip to India.
The filibuster was launched after the Liberals voted down a Tory motion to call Trudeau’s national security adviser Daniel Jean to testify at a House of Commons committee about the prime minister’s bungled trip to India.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer accused the Trudeau Liberals of not being forthcoming about the circumstances surrounding the invitation of convicted attempted murderer Atwal to official Canadian government events in India:
“Tonight, Canada’s Conservatives are forcing the Trudeau Liberals to work late. Here’s why – Justin Trudeau has failed, repeatedly, to come clean with Canadians.
“When a convicted attempted murderer appears at an official Government of Canada event, that is serious.
“When the Prime Minister then blames a foreign government for his mistake, that is even worse.
“Canadians deserve to know the truth about what happened during the Atwal Affair. Justin Trudeau is trying to hide the one person who can set the record straight.
“That’s not right. And we are using the tools at our disposal to force the Liberals to come clean with Canadians.”
The Conservative motions are all related to budgetary matters, which are considered matters of confidence. The government must, therefore, ensure enough of its MPs are present at all times to avoid losing any of the votes — which would be deemed a loss of confidence and trigger an election.
After about three hours of voting, Liberal MP Rob Oliphant asked that the Commons mobilize additional staff so that the young pages in the chamber would not be “run off their feet all night.”
Conservatives maintained the disruption was warranted, given the government’s refusal to let Jean testify at the national security committee about the briefing he gave journalists during Trudeau’s India trip.
Jean suggested to reporters covering Trudeau’s trouble-plagued trip last month that rogue factions in the Indian government had sabotaged the prime minister’s visit.
WATCH: Jaspal Atwal holds press conference to explain India controversy
Trudeau has since defended Jean, saying he’s a professional, non-partisan, veteran public servant who only says what he knows to be true.
But the Conservatives maintain Jean was used by the PMO to deflect attention from a public relations disaster.
— With files from the Canadian Press