Scheer dismisses possibility of non-confidence motion over WE controversy

Click to play video: 'Trudeau grilled over WE Charity controversy'
Trudeau grilled over WE Charity controversy
WATCH: Trudeau grilled over WE Charity controversy – Jul 21, 2020

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is again backing away from the possibility of triggering a non-confidence vote for the Liberal government over the WE Charity controversy.

Scheer reiterated that any decision about toppling the government would be deferred to his successor, who is due to be chosen sometime next month. He added that any “strategy” would be up to that person at a later date.

“I can tell you that with our conversations with the other parties, that has not come up,” Scheer said during a news conference on Friday.

“We’re focusing on getting to the bottom of the scandal, we’re focusing on making sure that the committees that are undergoing these types of investigations can continue to do their work.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced intense scrutiny over awarding the WE Charity a contract to administer a summer grant program for students struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WE Charity confirmed that Trudeau’s mother and brother had been paid a combined $282,000 between 2016 and 2020 by the organization for separate speaking events. In total, the WE Charity would have received $43.5 million from the federal government to administer the $900-million program.

The deal was ultimately scrapped, however, the contract has launched an investigation into a possible conflict of interest violation by Trudeau and his finance minister, Bill Morneau, whose daughter works for the group.

Click to play video: 'WE Charity scandal: Global News story prompts heated debate in the House of Commons'
WE Charity scandal: Global News story prompts heated debate in the House of Commons

Both have apologized for not recusing themselves from the discussions around it.

The Liberals are currently operating as a minority government. If they are unable to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons under Trudeau’s leadership, an early election could be launched.

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The WE Charity controversy is the kind of issue that could result in a motion of non-confidence.

“Remember the last Parliament, when the Liberals had their majority, they shut down these investigations. They famously shut down the justice committee before we heard all the testimony and got to the bottom of the SNC-Lavalin scandal,” Scheer said Friday.

“In this Parliament, the opposition parties can prevent that from happening and that’s what our conversations have been focused on.”

While Scheer said the opposition parties are on the same page about avoiding such a motion, he suggested earlier this week that Liberal MPs could “do the right thing” and choose someone else to lead the party and ultimately the country.

He echoed this on Friday, saying that Trudeau should resign over his role in the controversy involving the organization and that any member of the Liberal caucus who does not want to be seen as complicit should demand the same.

Click to play video: 'Morneau reimburses $41,000 in unpaid bills to WE'
Morneau reimburses $41,000 in unpaid bills to WE

Scheer previously called for Morneau to be fired for trips he took with his family in 2017, part of which were paid for by WE.

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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has also called for Trudeau to step aside.

“We must ask ourselves whether the prime minister is able to do his work: does he have the mental space available to play the role of prime minister?” Blanchet asked on Tuesday.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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