LILLEY: Trudeau loses motion — a reminder he leads a minority government

If there is one thing we’ve learned from the last few months, it’s that Justin Trudeau doesn’t want MPs asking questions about how he and his government have been handling the COVID-19 pandemic and spending hundreds of billions of dollars while doing it.

Last week, Trudeau threatened an election if MPs voted for a motion to examine the WE Scandal, this week he was threatening the vaccine supply if MPs asked questions.

Despite the fearmongering by the Trudeau Liberals, the House of Commons backed a Conservative Party motion to study the government’s response to COVID-19 176-152. The Tories were joined the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, the Green Party and former Liberal MP-turned-independent Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Remarkably, the world didn’t end when the motion passed which is what you would have thought if you had listened to Liberal cabinet ministers earlier in the day.

Instead of having a regular COVID-19 update, the PM sent out Anita Anand, his minister of public works and procurement, to warn that access to vaccines and PPE would be at risk if the Conservative motion passed.

Last week Le Journal de Montreal reported that the ventilators sold by this firm normally retail for $13,100 per unit but the contract issued by the Trudeau Liberals saw taxpayers forking over $23,700 per unit.

Do you think there might be problems in a contract allegedly awarded quickly to a Liberal-friendly firm for ventilators that overpaid by an estimated $10,000 per ventilator? With the contract being for 10,000 ventilators, that could allegedly cost Canadian taxpayers more than $100 million more than the going rate even during the pandemic.

The Conservative motion also asks for documents related to the emergency stockpile of PPE that disappeared and the diminished Global Public Health Intelligence Network, the team of doctors that spotted pandemics before they happened but that the Trudeau Liberals didn’t want to keep funding.

The entire motion looks at the full government response to COVID-19, which means looking at the parts that have been handled well and the parts that have been a disaster.

On Monday, Parliament asked to look at the whole response and reminded Justin Trudeau that he leads a minority government.

“It is my grave concern that those contracts are at risk, those negotiations are at risk, and suppliers will then as a result be hesitant to contract with the federal government,” Anand said.

Her argument was an “if” built upon an “if,” meaning it had no substance.

The motion, crafted and presented by Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner calls for the release of emails, memos, documents and other records related to contracts for items such as ventilators. The motion also specifically says that any redactions of national security, personal or proprietary information for companies involved be done “by the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel.”

That’s what the Liberals really objected to because that is a process they cannot control.

They suggested the Privy Council Office decide what could and could not be released which would effectively put the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of what could be released.

The Law Clerk works for all of Parliament and in such matters, reports to the committee. The Privy Council Office is the bureaucratic arm of the PMO and reports to Trudeau.

Which process do you trust to make sure that items are not excluded because they might embarrass the government?

Bottom line, this was an attempt to once again shut down anything that could embarrass the government on COVID-19.

The motion has nothing to do with the WE Scandal but may uncover issues around a contract for ventilators given to a company that didn’t exist a week before the contract was awarded, a lucrative deal that eventually landed in the lap of a man who was a Liberal MP up until last year.

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