A filibuster by Liberal MPs on the Ethics committee has successfully postponed a vote to open an investigation into the WE Charity scandal.
On Friday, the committee was debating a motion to open its own investigation into how WE Charity was handpicked to manage a $912 million fund while having close connections with the Trudeau family.
The motion would have required documentation from several individuals and allow the committee to “review the safeguards which are in place to avoid and prevent conflicts of interest in federal government procurement, contracting, granting, contribution and other expenditure policies.”
The meeting was hijacked when Liberal MPs began giving long, sometimes rambling speeches.
Liberal MP Élisabeth Brière gave a 30-minute speech which included quotes on political theory and detailed accounts of her life and previous careers.
Liberal MP Guy Fergus used part of his 30 minutes to teach the committee about ancient Greece, even speaking in Latin for a time.
The Liberal members successfully drove the meeting nearly an hour late and forced the vote to be postponed.
Conservative MP Michael Barrett told reporters that the Liberal filibuster was an embarrassingly obvious attempt to stop an investigation.
“So it’s laid bare for everyone to see that the Liberals have attempted to filibuster this committee,” he said.
“If playing hardball is filibustering the committee, waiting and running the clock until two o’clock and slyly passing a point of order to try and adjourn the committee, that’s clumsy, but I’m not sure if that’s hardball.”
It was recently revealed that the prime minister’s mother and brother had been paid by WE Charity for speaking gigs prior to the government’s decision to have the organization manage a $912 million fund for students. WE Charity could have received as much as $43 million for the administration role.
WE Charity’s co-founder has said that the Prime Minister’s Office personally offered WE Charity the contract, a claim the prime minister has disputed.
Earlier in July Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion opened an investigation to determine if the prime minister violated the Conflict of Interest Act. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is also under investigation.
The Finance and Government Operations committees have both voted to investigate different aspects of the WE Charity scandal.
The Prime Minister has been invited to testify in front of the Finance committee. However, Trudeau has not indicated whether or not he will accept the invitation.