OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asks Governor General Julie Payette to prorogue Parliament until late September.
On Tuesday, Trudeau said Parliament will return Sept. 23, which is two days after the House of Commons was initially scheduled to resume sitting.
A speech from the throne is planned for the same day.
Trudeau said his team will present a plan to build a stronger and more resilient Canada in the coming weeks.
“The throne speech will give us the opportunity to lay out, in detail, our approach going forward. It will also allow Parliament to hold a confidence vote on this new plan,” he said.
Promising not to raise taxes is part of the plan, Trudeau added.
As for why the prime minister is proroguing when committees are investigating the WE controversy — especially after he slammed Conservatives for prorogations in the Harper years — Trudeau said Conservatives prorogued to avoid confidence tests, he is doing it to force a confidence vote.
He said he did not want an election, but it is clear the country is dealing with different issues since Canadians went to the polls in 2019.
“We’re taking a moment to recognize the throne speech we delivered eight months ago had no mention of COVID-19, had no conception of the reality we find ourselves in now.”
Trudeau questioned why he’s proroguing when committees are investigating the We controversy, especially after he slammed Conservatives for prorogations in the Harper years. Says Conservatives prorogued to avoid confidence tests, he is doing it to spark a confidence test #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) August 18, 2020
Reaction to prorogation
The NPD and Conservative parties have both released statements expressing why they disagree with the prime minister’s decision.
“Shutting down parliament in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis, with a planned sitting next week and committees working hard to get answers and solutions for Canadians, is wrong,” NPD leader Jagmeet Singh says.
“Canadians shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for Mr. Trudeau’s scandals.”
The Conservative party said Trudeau is “walking out on Canadians in the middle of a major health and economic crisis, in a disgusting attempt to make Canadians forget about his corruption.”
“Hiding out for two months won’t solve the Liberals’ ethical problems,” the statement adds.
Trudeau hands over requested WE Charity documents
Meanwhile, Trudeau said he is releasing thousands of pages of documents over to MPs on the House of Commons finance committee. That committee had demanded the documents as part of its investigation into whether Trudeau’s relationship with WE Charity influenced the government’s ill-fated decision to have the organization run a federal student-volunteer program.
The documents were turned over to the committee earlier this month, but lawyers were vetting them for personal information and cabinet secrets.
Even though the prorogation brings an end to the current Parliament session, releasing MPs from their duties, the documents are still being released.
The announcement comes the same day Chrystia Freeland also took on the role of the federal finance minister after Bill Morneau resigned Monday night. She will continue her role as deputy prime minister while MP Dominic LeBlanc is taking over Freeland’s post as the intergovernmental affairs minister.