Bloc leader vows to seek fall election unless Trudeau, Morneau resign

Click to play video: 'Bloc’s Blanchet issues public ultimatum, threatens fall election'
Bloc’s Blanchet issues public ultimatum, threatens fall election
WATCH: Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is calling for a fall election unless Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his chief of staff Katie Telford, and Finance Minister Bill Morneau resign. Mercedes Stephenson explains why, and the likelihood of it happening – Aug 12, 2020

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Katie Telford, the prime minister’s chief of staff, must resign.

If they do not, he vows to try to force an election this fall.

Click to play video: 'Blanchet suggests he has lost confidence in the Trudeau government'
Blanchet suggests he has lost confidence in the Trudeau government

Blanchet’s remarks on Wednesday came as the House of Commons is set to return for one of its four scheduled summer sittings amid the coronavirus pandemic, which also comes as the government is engulfed in controversy over the WE Charity scandal.

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It also comes amid questions being raised about a rent relief contract that an arms-length Crown corporation awarded to a company that employs the husband of Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff.

READ MORE: WE Charity says it has repaid $22M of $30M received through controversial deal

Blanchet told reporters Trudeau, Morneau and Telford have been “mismanaging” the government and allowing them to remain in positions of power would do more damage for the country than forcing Canadians to head out to cast their ballots in the midst of the pandemic.

He said he will move a motion of non-confidence in October if his demands are not met.

READ MORE: Morneau says he’s made ‘significant’ WE Charity donations, just repaid $41K for trips

The Liberals won a minority government last fall, meaning they need the support of at least one other opposition party to pass legislation and survive any votes of confidence.

Click to play video: 'WE scandal: Bloc leader vows to seek fall election unless Trudeau, Morneau resign'
WE scandal: Bloc leader vows to seek fall election unless Trudeau, Morneau resign

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer ruled out trying to force a confidence vote in July, saying that decision would be left up to whoever replaces him as the new leader of the party later in August.

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Peter Mackay, one of the two leading contenders for that contest, told The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson in May that a fall election was “not a priority” for the country while it tackled the virus.

READ MORE: Peter MacKay says fall election not ‘the priority’ for the country amid coronavirus

But that statement was made prior to the controversy gaining steam over the decision to grant a sole-sourced contract to the WE Charity to administer a student grant program.

Global News has reached out to both MacKay’s campaign and that of Erin O’Toole, also a frontrunner in the leadership race, asking whether they would back Blanchet in a bid to bring down the government.

A spokesperson for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggested that party is open to continuing to support the government depending on support for key measures like Employment Insurance reform.

“The government needs to earn the confidence of Canadians in this pandemic. They do that by working with us to fix EI permanently so people get help,” said party spokesperson Melanie Richer.

“By working with us to make sure people can go back to work knowing their kids are safe at school or at child care. Those are the things we will be fighting for and be looking for as we continue to try to make parliament work. Just like we have been throughout the minority parliament.”

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A spokesperson for the Green party said it would not support a push for a fall election, saying “it would be irresponsible for any party to threaten an election during a pandemic.”

“Significant changes are needed to the Election Act to ensure a safe election,” wrote Rosie Emery in an email. “The Chief Electoral Officer is preparing proposals to go to PROC in September. Public health must be a first priority.”

PROC refers to the House of Commons procedures and house affairs committee.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau’s testimony on the WE Charity controversy'
Trudeau’s testimony on the WE Charity controversy

Trudeau and other top officials have doubled down in saying that the public service recommended WE Charity and felt it was the only group that could deliver the parameters of the program.

However, how that determination was made has not been established.

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Some 5,000 pages of documents related to government decision-making on the matter have been tabled with the finance committee and are being vetted by lawyers there to determine which can be publicly released and which need to be withheld as cabinet secrets.

It’s not clear when those documents will be released.

Both Trudeau and Morneau are under investigation by the ethics commissioner for not recusing themselves from the cabinet discussions on the deal, given both have family financial ties to the group.

Click to play video: 'The timeline of Trudeau’s WE Charity controversy'
The timeline of Trudeau’s WE Charity controversy

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