A Conservative motion calling for the suspension of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pay was swiftly ruled out of order at the House of Commons finance committee Wednesday.
Veteran Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, his party’s finance critic, attempted to move the motion in the dying moments of a three-hour meeting. The committee is investigating the Liberal government’s since-scrapped deal with WE Charity to manage the Canada Student Service Grant, a program that had a budget of $912 million.
Though the House reconvened at different points over several weeks to pass emergency legislation, a special COVID-19 committee — limited in focus to the crisis — allowed MPs to meet virtually and in the House. Tories pushed for the full resumption of Parliament instead.
In May, Liberals, New Democrats, and Green MPs voted to suspend regular sittings until the fall, with four meetings of the COVID-19 committee in the summer. Though Trudeau attended two such meetings in July, he was on holiday and not in attendance when the committee met again Wednesday.
“His absence meant he could not answer questions about his $500 million grant to a group that had paid his family more than $500,000 in fees and expenses,” Poilievre said, reading the text of his motion. He was referencing the speaking fees and expenses paid to members of the Trudeau family, chiefly Margaret Trudeau, for attending WE Charity events in recent years.
The critic said Trudeau has “taken off 20 days in six weeks,” based on the prime minister’s daily itinerary that notes when he has “personal days,” including on weekends. At that point, Liberal MP Wayne Easter, the committee’s chair, questioned if Poilievre’s motion related to the group’s work.
Poilieve pressed on and called for the finance committee to “suspend the prime...