NDP to introduce motion looking into all government coronavirus pandemic spending

The New Democrat Party will introduce a motion Wednesday seeking to create a special Parliamentary committee that will look into all federal government spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

The motion, shared with Global News Tuesday, will be filed “in light of troubling allegations of misuse of public funds by the government” during the pandemic, according to its text.

If approved, the committee would hold hearings to examine and review all aspects of the Liberal government’s spending in response to the pandemic.

Programs specifically mentioned in the motion that would be reviewed are the Canada Student Service Grant, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the procurement of personal protective equipment.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and other ministers and senior officials would be “ordered to appear as witnesses from time to time as the committee sees fit,” the motion reads.

Parliamentarians have been asking parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux’s office for details about various spending measures, which led the PBO to warn this month about missing details about over $400 billion in emergency loans, guarantees and deferrals being provided by Crown corporations. There’s so little information about them that it’s hard to estimate what their final cost will be, according to the PBO.

The NDP’s motion will come a day after the party supported the Liberals in a confidence vote on the government’s Speech from the Throne. All other parties voted against the Liberals, who still earned enough votes to avoid a federal election.

The NDP also joined the Liberals in blocking a Conservative motion to get the WE Charity affair probed ahead of a study into why the Liberals prorogued Parliament in August.

The government must provide a report within 20 sitting days to the Commons procedures and House affairs committee explaining why the August prorogation was necessary.

Tories argued there’s a clear link between the parliamentary reset and the issue, accusing the Liberals of proroguing Parliament to stop several committee investigations into the controversy.

NDP MP Rachel Blaney had said that while the public does see a connection between the WE affair and prorogation, she had issues with the Conservatives’ motion.

Despite that, the NDP have said they too want further scrutiny of the WE Charity deal, which was connected to the Canada Student Service Grant.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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