Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulates Dominic LeBlanc on being sworn in as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs during the swearing in ceremony following a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulates Dominic LeBlanc on being sworn in as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs during the swearing in ceremony following a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Parliament prorogued, confidence coming on throne speech, says Trudeau

Trudeau said he ‘absolutely’ plans to fight the next election as Liberal leader

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to prorogue Parliament, promising to come back with a new throne speech next month to reset his Liberal government’s agenda in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau announced Parliament will return Sept. 23, which is two days after the House of Commons was initially scheduled to resume sitting after having reduced operations this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move will reset the legislative agenda, shutting down committees — along with their probes of the WE Charity controversy — and clearing away any unfinished work or bills left on the order paper.

Trudeau says the pandemic has created the need for a long-term plan for recovery, and says the throne speech will be a roadmap to rebuilding the economy and address fundamental inequities in society that were laid bare by the pandemic and shutdown.

The move comes less than 24 hours after Bill Morneau announced his resignation as finance minister and as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre. A mini-cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall Tuesday afternoon saw Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland appointed Canada’s finance minister, the first woman named to the high-profile post.

Freeland will continue serving as deputy prime minister in addition to taking on finance, but New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc will take over from her in the intergovernmental affairs portfolio — a job he held during the Liberal government’s previous mandate.

Trudeau says the throne speech delivered eight months ago had no inkling that a pandemic would cause a global economic crisis, and a new speech is needed to offer a long-term plan for rebuilding.

The throne speech will also prompt a confidence vote, which will offer an opportunity for opposition parties to test their plan in the House of Commons, Trudeau said.

Trudeau said he “absolutely” plans to fight the next election as Liberal leader.

The Conservatives are set to reveal the winner of their leadership race this weekend.

Trudeau also says his Liberal government will release thousands of pages of documents related to the WE controversy that had been turned over to the House of Commons finance committee.

That committee demanded the documents as part of its investigation into whether Trudeau’s relationship with WE Charity influenced the government’s ill-fated decision to have the organization run a federal student-volunteer program.

Both Morneau and Trudeau are facing investigations by the federal ethics commissioner for not recusing themselves in the WE Charity deal, given their close family ties to the organization.

As the minister of finance, Freeland will help shepherd the government through the biggest economic recovery since the Great Depression. The government has not yet tabled a 2020 budget, because plans to do so in March were upended by the pandemic.

A fiscal snapshot released in July was a bare-bones look at the pandemic relief programs thus far, but provided few details about how the government intends to move out of the crisis.

That plan will come in the throne speech and either a fall economic statement or a budget, which Trudeau is looking now to bring in this fall. A cabinet retreat is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Earlier Tuesday, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said Morneau was just taking the fall for the government and that Trudeau is the one who should resign.

Poilievre said he did not have hope that Freeland replacing Morneau would mark a change in policy or direction for the Liberals.

“Regardless, though, of how you play musical chairs, we still have the same corrupt and incompetent prime minister ahead of the same corrupt and chaotic government.”

Poilievre sidestepped questions about whether the Tories would try to trigger an election this fall, saying they want to uncover the full story of the WE controversy so Canadians know all the details before they go to the polls again.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet last week said he would bring a non-confidence vote himself if Trudeau, Morneau and Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford do not all resign. He said Tuesday a throne speech could just make doing so easier, though he also left the door open to supporting it.

Speaking to his MPs at a caucus retreat in Bonaventure, Que., Blanchet said the party would vote against a throne speech if it does not contain greater health transfers to the provinces, substantially more help for Quebec seniors, and aid to agricultural producers in supply-managed sectors.

The New Democrats have been using their position in the minority Parliament to help Trudeau’s Liberals pass emergency aid legislation, while negotiating changes. The NDP are now asking for a $12-billion investment in child care, including an immediate $2 billion investment so parents — particularly mothers — can go back to work.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says this will remain the NDP’s focus — for now.

“If the Liberal government continues to focus on helping their close friends instead of helping people … then we’ll have to look at all options,” he said Tuesday in Vancouver.

Morneau insisted his decision to leave was based strictly on the fact that he doesn’t intend to run for re-election and his belief that the finance minister must be someone around for the long, hard road to recovery ahead.

He said he intends to run to be the next secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Both Trudeau and Morneau have close family ties to the WE organization have apologized for not recusing themselves from the decision to select WE Charity to administer the multimillion-dollar program. WE backed out of the deal in early July, citing the controversy.

Morneau compounded the controversy by revealing WE Charity had paid over $41,000 in expenses for family trips to see its humanitarian projects in Ecuador and Kenya. Morneau repaid the charity just hours before disclosing the trips during testimony before the Commons finance committee last month.

The federal ethics watchdog’s investigation into whether Morneau violated the Conflict of Interest Act will continue despite his decision to quit.

The Canadian Press

CoronavirusJustin TrudeauParliament

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents at Vernon's Chartwell Carrington Place received letters from local high school students as part of a pen pal project Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon students connect with seniors the old-fashioned way

Grade 12 student Alex Murphy set up a pen pal project as a way to break through COVID-19 isolation

Twin sisters Kyla, left, and Jordyn Bear have accepted scholarships to play at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York for this upcoming fall. The 17-year-olds dream of playing together for Canada in the Olympics one day. (Jesse Johnston/CP photo)
Lake Country twins inspire Indigenous hockey players

Grade 12 George Elliot Secondary students Kyla and Jordyn Bear earn hockey scholarships at NCAA Division 1 school

Reid Crow practices slacklining in Rutland Lions Park. (Image - Rick Methot)
Man’s meditation practice brings positivity to Kelowna park-goers

Reid Crow was spotted slacklining in the park on Wednesday

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

BX Swan Lake Fire Rescue responded to a third out-of-control burn pile in 24 hours Wednesday, March 17, just before 4 p.m. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Firefighters douse 3rd out-of-control burn in 24 hours in Vernon area

BX Swan Lake Fire responded to reports of trees and grass on fire near BX dog park Thursday

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A in Princeton

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Fire crews tend to a collision that is causing severe traffic delays on the William R. Bennett bridge headed east into Kelowna. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
7 vehicle collision on WR Bennett Bridge under investigation

The collision backed up traffic on the William R. Bennett bridge for much of the morning

Kelowna company celebrates milestone of producing 46 million masks in under a year.
46 million masks and counting: Kelowna company reaches 1 year milstone

In under a year, Breathe Manufacturing Ltd. in Kelowna has hit production of 46 million masks for front-line workers

Most Read