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HomeNewsGrande Prairie MP calls proroguing parliament "outrageous"

Grande Prairie MP calls proroguing parliament “outrageous”

Grande Prairie-Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to prorogue parliament is an outrageous attempt to avoid scrutiny and accountability, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the vast majority of Canadians will be very concerned to see the prime minister shutting down not only parliament but many of the parliamentary investigations that were being undertaken into the WE scandal, as well as some of the other scandals that the prime minister has found himself in,” he says.

Warkentin notes proroguing parliament formally terminates this parliamentary session and immediately ceases all work on Parliament Hill. Prorogation also kills any outstanding bills, as well as prevents committees from meeting until government reactivates.

The WE scandal stems from the federal cabinet’s choice of the WE Charity to administer the Canada Student Service Grant program, a volunteer program with a budget of $912 million. WE would have received up to $43.5 million to manage the program under the initial agreement. The Trudeau government has been criticized for the decision and the prime minister is accused of violating the Conflict of Interest Act due to his family’s close ties with the WE organization.

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Warkentin argues the move to prorogue parliament is fundamentally unfair and unprecedented to shut down investigations into Trudeau’s behaviour. He adds, however, that prorogation happens somewhat regularly in government.

“Prorogation happens all the time; it’s just unprecedented that it would actually shut down investigations into the prime minister’s own corrupt behaviour,” he says.

Another example of proroguing the federal government occurred in 2008 when former Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a prorogation six weeks after the federal election. Opposition parties at the time suggested it was done to defeat a vote of non-confidence against the Conservative Party of Canada’s minority government.

Warkentin adds he believes Canadians have given the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, but their support is waning as more and more controversy emerges.

“People have lost patience with [him] as things have been revealed where ‘sweetheart deals’ have been given to organizations that are close to the Trudeau family and close to well-known Liberals,’ he says. “These types of things really, fundamentally alter the trust that the Canadian people have with the prime minister.”

Members of Parliament have been released from their duties until September 23rd. At that time, the Liberals are scheduled to hold a throne speech to outline their minority government’s priorities, and the next steps they intend to take through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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