Them’s fighting words.
Quebec Senator Leo Housakos called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a bribe taker in the We Charity scandal, prompting a chorus of “Shame! Shame!” from other senators in the chamber, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
The accusation came while they were debating a motion to investigate federal funding for the organization.
“This scandal has shown us the Trudeau family and their Liberal friends have no scruples when it comes to money,” said Housakos.
“They accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars and took expensive trips. This scandal was so big even the Minister of Finance had to resign because he too accepted bribes from We Charity. All those bribes We Charity gave to the mother, the brother, the wife of the Prime Minister himself clearly worked. It pays to have Justin Trudeau as a friend.”
Countered Ontario Senator Frances Lankin: “We all heard Senator Housakos accuse the Prime Minister of bribery. Bribery is a charge under the Criminal Code.”
Added Quebec Senator Pierre Dalphond: “Senator Housakos must withdraw these words and apologize. To say that somebody has committed a crime when maybe he has a breach of the Code Of Ethics of the House of Commons is confusing things on purpose.”
Housakos stood fast and replied: “I believe We Charity gave a payment to his mother, to his brother, to his wife at various times, and in a complete conflict of interest and breach of the Criminal Code months later, there was an exchange of government grants.”
We Charity received a $43.5 million federal grant that was later withdrawn after it admitted paying the equivalent of $481,751 to Trudeau’s family in gifts, talent fees and free London and New York trips.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigned after acknowledging he approved the grant without admitting We Charity hired his daughter and personally gave him the equivalent of $41,366 in free accommodation at Kenya and Ecuador resorts.
Housakos said he’d be willing to repeat his statements outside the Senate where there is no parliamentary privilege, and welcomed any libel suit by Trudeau.
“I’d be more than happy to see him in a court of law and cross-examine him,” said Housakos.