Conservative MPs lay into PM Trudeau during local stop
Four plus months into the COVID-19 pandemic and Canadians have shelled billions of dollars in support funds for a myriad of societal needs. The resulting spending has Canada’s deficit bloated to $343 billion.
A recent federal government fiscal snapshot projects Canada’s deficit to hit $1.2 trillion in 2020-2021.
Overlay that gloomy scenario, along with the continued pressures of the ongoing pandemic, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s third ethics violation investigation around the WE Charity blunder, and it is no wonder Official Opposition Conservative Party of Canada members are working overtime to make sure Canadians know what’s going on.
The controversy involves the rewarding of a $912 million contract to the WE Charity to administer the Canadian governments Canada Student Service Grant program. The contract is now cancelled.
The Prime Minister July 30 testified to a special finance committee looking into the matter, admitting he regrets not recusing himself from discussions about WE, despite long-standing ties between the organization and the Trudeau family. Trudeau’s his mother Margaret, brother Alexandre and wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau have all appeared at the WE events, collecting fees for doing so. The matter continues. Read more about it.
On July 20, Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison and visiting fellow Conservative Party member Portage—Lisgar (Manitoba) MP Candice Bergen held a brief media gathering in Cranbrook to discuss current affairs, from Trudeau’s latest controversy, to wild government spending to the current pandemic and ways to restore the economy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges for Canadians. I’ve heard from many residents in Kootenay-Columbia who say they are concerned but optimistic for the future. Going forward: who do you trust to lead Canada through the recovery? Who do you trust to stand up for democracy and respect taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars?” stated first-term MP Morrison.
“It’s clear that at a time when Canadians require accountability and leadership from their federal government, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have let Canadians down. The WE Charity scandal is the latest example of their continued attempt to take advantage of reduced oversight by way of looking after their wealthy Liberal friends.
“With the help of the NDP, the Trudeau Liberals shut down Parliament this spring. They won’t allow Opposition parties to provide vital oversight, have Opposition Days, request Emergency Debates, debate Private Members Bills, order the publication of government documents, or debate and vote on committee reports. The NDP is now speaking out against the Prime Minister’s involvement in the Liberal WE Charity scandal, but they were complicit in the shutting down of the oversight (Parliament) that laid the groundwork for the scandal.
“What does this all mean for Canadians? It means less government accountability. In a global crisis, oversight is more important than ever. At a time of record spending, Canadians deserve to know where their money is going and how it’s being spent. The Prime Minister would like to believe that government funds and tax dollars are two separate things – they are not,” Morrison said.
“Hundreds of thousands of people continue to fall through the cracks because of unnecessarily rigid pandemic aid programs that Justin Trudeau refuses to fix. The Liberals have announced billions of dollars in new spending but guided it through Parliament in mere hours. The Auditor General doesn’t even have enough funding to conduct proper audits of government programs.”
This isn’t how democracy is supposed to work. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to hold Justin Trudeau accountable during the COVID-19 special hybrid committee this summer. We are standing up for democracy because we believe Canadians deserve to know and see where their tax dollars are going.
Fourth term MP Bergen said the economy and Canada’s recovery are “at the top of everyone’s mind. Coming out of the COVID crisis, everyone agrees that support was needed but I think there are concerns with the massive amount of money that’s being spent and that there has virtually been no accountability by the Liberal government.
“We’ve seen the latest, with the almost billion dollars that was given to the WE Foundation and that decision has been reversed but there is a lot of very, very shady things going on and Trudeau is not in the House of Commons today (July 20),” she said, noting his absence so soon after the controversy broke creates “a lot of concerns I would say in this area and this community around fiscal responsibility
The lack of accountability remains a major concern for the Official Opposition Party.
“The Liberals have short-changed the Auditor General. They don’t have enough money to actually audit all of the spending and the Liberals, together with the help of the NDP have shut down Parliament,” Bergen said. “So the work we would normally do is not being done, so our concern is when you are in a pandemic, in a crisis, Canadians more than ever need Parliament sitting. They need to have everybody doing their job, so the problems that are happening are going to continue. We’re going to probably see the fallout in the next months and even years to come.”
Bergen, the former Minister of State (Social Development) in Stephen Harper’s government from 2013-2015, pointed out Trudeau’s government helped create the fiscal mess before the pandemic by being “proud and overtly pro-deficit during good times. That’s not what Conservatives would have done.
“I’ll sum it up; when Trudeau made the statement ‘I am going into debt; I’m increasing the debt so Canadians don’t have to go into debt and he didn’t know Canadians are the ones who are paying this debt, I think that sums it all up. Conservatives understand the money government is spending is Canadians’ money; it’s not Trudeau’s money.”
“When you’ve got a Prime Minister whose worn black face, groped a woman, fired his Attorney General, interfered in a criminal prosecution and lied about it; had the SNC Lavalin scandal, been convicted of numerous ethics violations because of the trip he took with the Aga Khan, and now we have him not only lying but clearly interfering in giving contracts to his friends and buddies at the We Foundation, it is absolutely disgraceful. I think in any other country there would be no question as to what this man should be doing and I don’t think he’s fit to govern. I haven’t for a very long time. He needs to be held accountable. We need to know what other contracts may have or may not have been given. How did this decision come about? How involved was the Prime Minister? What cabinet ministers knew about it and what did they say about it? Conservatives will not rest until we get these answers for Canadians. We’re $343 billion in deficit and this is just one example of money that was going to go somewhere and very little answers. It’s Liberals rewarding Liberals.”
Morrison noted the deficit has to be paid back “and how do we pay it? Taxes! And where do the taxes come from? A strong economy. What do we have right now? Not any of that.”
Jokingly referring to Trudeau’s daily morning updates to Canadians as “his morning show,” Bergen said she believes the Prime Minister is “taking advantage of this pandemic. His excuse was health concerns. That’s why he didn’t want to go to Parliament but we saw him go to a protest for a cause he believed to be a good cause, and I don’t deny him that, but he went to a protest with tens of thousands of people but he can’t go to Parliament to be accountable for the decisions he makes. I think his avoidance has much less to do with health concerns than him trying to cover up some of the things he’s been doing.”
Another issue the MPs find themselves dealing with this summer are “law-abiding firearms owners,” Bergen said. “During the pandemic we’ve had the Liberals take advantage of that and have banned a number of firearms that are used routinely and in a safe way by hunters and sports-shooters and in my area, farmers. There is a lot of concern that continues with the Liberal attack on law-abiding firearms owners and it’s a big issue for me. You might remember I led the charge to get rid of the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, so we are not happy with the Liberals’ direction on that.”
As for getting the economy back on its feet, Morrison suggested continued support for the oil and energy sector in Canada, building more international relationships and, focussing locally, by supporting local small businesses.
“Conservatives want businesses to run themselves. We don’t want to micro-manage businesses and we live off small businesses here. Kootenay-Columbia is all small business so we need to support them a lot more.”
Morrison said there’s been plenty of frustration from the tourism industry, with ideas hatched only to be denied, such as the guide-outfitting industry proposing to meet clients at the border, contain them and take them directly to hunting grounds.
“This whole area is tourism based, whether it is Alberta or International. We’re starving for tourism. We need to open the borders, for sure, but it has to be safe.”
Bergen said there remains lots of concerns about re-opening the border.
“We’ve got to be smart and follow health guidelines and try to get some of these things jump-started.”
As for border jumpers claiming to be heading to Alaska, Morrison said people need to slow down and take a breath, noting he knows someone in the riding who goes to school in Oklahoma and is now home with plates from the state on his vehicle.
“If people are not obeying the rules, they should be held accountable and sent on their way but in most cases I think they are living by the rules when they come through Kingsgate.”
Bergen is familiar with the Cranbrook area, having lived here for a couple of years in the mid 1980s.
Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo