(Ottawa) Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre proposes a “compromise” to try to resolve the impasse in the finance committee that has lasted for weeks in connection with the UNIS affair (WE Charity, in English ).
” It’s urgent. That’s why I’m here today to put aside my partisan hat, ”Poilievre said at a press briefing in Ottawa on Monday morning.
The Conservatives are calling for thousands of UNIS-related documents to be turned over in full and for the committee’s legal counsel to decide whether certain items should be redacted for privacy reasons or to protect cabinet secrets.
Liberal committee members are filibustering the opposition’s request, arguing that officials should be given an opportunity to explain why they withheld parts of the documents.
Monday morning, Mr. Poilievre said he was ready to agree not to obtain documents protected by ministerial secrecy. But he demands that the committee have access to all the other documents that have been redacted so far.
“Let’s put them aside for now and give all the other documents to the parliamentary law clerk […] to see if these documents should be delivered and disclosed to the public. Let’s do it today, ”he insisted.
However, the House leader of the Trudeau government pulled the rug out from under Mr. Poilievre a few minutes before he spoke.
In a series of messages on Twitter on Monday morning, Pablo Rodriguez said the government has agreed to move in this direction.
“We have agreed to send the documents not redacted to the law clerk, except documents redacted to protect cabinet confidentiality and irrelevant documents, as authorized by the committee motion,” Rodriguez wrote.
“It is time for the opposition to put partisanship aside and get back to working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect Canadians,” he added.
Obtaining these documents by the committee, according to Poilievre, will determine whether there was “cover-up” in awarding the contract to UNIS to manage a student volunteer scholarship program.
UNIS ultimately backed out of the deal, citing political controversy, and the scholarship program has since been scrapped.
The finance committee meets again Monday afternoon.