Liberal and NDP committee members voted to shut down further investigation into the WE Charity scandal on Tuesday.
A Conservative motion in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) put forward by Conservative House leader Karen Vecchio was called “premature” by Liberal committee chair Ruby Sahota.
“In this instance, because the government has not yet tabled in the House a report outlining the reason for prorogation, the committee is not in a position to have a base of reference from which to begin the study nor would it be appropriate to pre-suppose the outcome of the report,” said Sahota.
According to parliamentary procedure, the Liberals are expected to release a report on their reasoning for this summer’s prorogation within 20 days of returning to parliament. When completed, the report will be reviewed by PROC.
Conservatives have accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of using prorogation to avoid further scrutiny over his involvement in the scandal. At the height of the scandal, Trudeau denied involvement in the decision to award oversight of a $900 million federal student service grant to WE Charity despite financial and personal ties with his family.
However, thousands of pages worth of redacted disclosures later hinted that the Prime Minister’s Office may have guided the public service to choose the charity as the sole contractor for the bid.
“This is a cover-up. The prime minister personally intervened to give half a billion-dollar grant to a group that had paid his family half a million dollars. He is covering it up by blacking it out, and shutting down our investigations,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre shortly after Trudeau announced he was proroguing parliament.
Liberal PROC member Mark Gerretsen had some biting words on Tuesday for the Conservatives’ attempt to revive an investigation into the affair.
“It is nothing more than a fishing expedition from a desperate group of people who cannot see past their own narrow partisan self interest,” said Garretsen.
“What we are seeing here is overtly divisive partisanship that simply looks to score political points.”
This is not the first instance where the NDP have aided the Liberals in shutting down further investigations into their conduct.
In July, Liberal and NDP MPs in the House of Commons Ethics Committee voted to shut down a motion calling for federal cabinet members to disclose whether they were aware of ties between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and WE before signing off on the deal.