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Conservatives argue prorogation intended to stop WE documents investigation

Last Updated Aug 19, 2020 at 11:25 am PDT

FILE - The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is seen, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, on Saturday, April 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Conservatives allege the Trudeau government is blocking an investigation into WE documents by proroguing Parliament

Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre says he is troubled by the amount of redacted information in the documents

Trudeau says the prorogation is meant to set an ambitious roadmap for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Federal Conservatives claim the Trudeau government is trying to cover up new developments in the WE controversy by proroguing Parliament. 

Five-thousand pages of government documents about the scandal released publically raise questions about whether or not the public service was nudged into picking the WE Charity to deliver the student service grant and if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was involved in the process earlier than he said.

Conservatives say there are signs the Prime Minister’s Office was discussing the program in April, even though Trudeau has said he didn’t learn about the proposed relationship until early May.

Conservative critic Pierre Poilievre says he is troubled by the amount of redacted information in the released emails, memos, and notes. But he says this can’t be investigated since Trudeau prorogued Parliament, ending the committee work on the controversy.

“He is covering it up by blacking it out, shutting down our investigations,” Poilievre says.

But Trudeau authorized the document release, saying the prorogation is needed to set an ambitious roadmap for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that will be delivered in the throne speech Sept. 23.

Tory MP Michael Barrett says the party will wait to decide if it will try to bring down the government in the fall after the Conservative leadership race is over at the end of this week.

“We’ll wait and see what the new leader of the Conservative party decides,” he adds.

The controversy over the now-abandoned program has spawned investigations by the federal ethics watchdog into possible conflict of interest on the part of Trudeau and his former finance minister, Bill Morneau, who also has close family ties to WE Charity.

The thousands of government documents were tabled with the finance committee almost two weeks ago but had not been released to committee members because legal counsel was said to have been still vetting them to ensure there were no breaches of cabinet confidences or personal privacy.

Watch: What Is Next For Trudeau Government?