Ottawa, Oct 21 : The Canadian Liberal government and the opposition Conservatives have sparred over a proposal to create a parliamentary committee to probe the former's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and possible ethical lapses.
Addressing the media here on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that there will be snap electionsif his government loses a confidence vote on the opposition's motion to set up the committee, reports CBC News.
"We have rolled out unprecedented measures to support Canadians, to support small businesses, to support families, to support communities right across the country, and we feel that parliamentarians should in this exceptional time have an ability to look very carefully at all that spending. And that's why we're proposing this special committee," he was quoted as saying.
"But it will be up to parliamentarians and the opposition to decide whether they want to make this minority Parliament work, or whether they've lost confidence in this government's ability to manage this pandemic and continue to govern this country during this crisis," Trudeau added The government had proposed striking a special committee with a narrower mandate to review the federal Covid-19 program spending.
But in an argument, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said that creating a special committee to probe possible misuse of finances during the pandemic would not constitute legitimate grounds for triggering a general election.
Addressing the media also on Tuesday, O'Toole said his party's push to strike a so-called "anti-corruption" committee to scrutinize government spending, lobbying and the delivery of federal aid programs is simply about holding the government to account on possible mis-spending and ethical lapses.
If the motion passes as drafted, the committee would have the power to call Trudeau and other members of his cabinet to testify, compel the disclosure of documents, and dig into Conservative-alleged Liberal scandals and conflicts of interest, reports CTV News.
It would also see the committee scheduled to meet within a week, granted "first claim to the priority use of House resources", and instructed to issue an interim report by February 15, 2021.