Trudeau's Finance Minster resigns and he shut down Parliament (but it has nothing to do with a charity scandal)

Canada’s Finance Minister resigned Monday but claimed his decision had nothing to do with an ongoing charity scandal that has engulfed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Amid calls from political opponents for his resignation, Canada’s finance minister did just that on Monday night. But the minister, Bill Morneau, insisted his decision to step down was not related to a conflict-of-interest scandal that has embroiled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government…

Mr. Morneau and Mr. Trudeau have been under political fire for not removing themselves from the cabinet discussion when a substantial no-bid contract was awarded to a charity that had connections to both of their families. In Mr. Morneau’s case, his daughter has an administrative job with the group, to which he and his wife have been substantial donors…

When asked at a news conference if his decision to quit and not to seek re-election to Parliament had been related to the scandal over the charity contract, Mr. Moreau dismissed the idea. But he added, “I wish that, in hindsight, that we had done things differently around the WE Charity.”

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer called the resignation proof the government was “in chaos.”

The leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party said it looked like Morneau was being thrown under the bus to protect Trudeau.

That’s actually a pretty pointed jab at Trudeau. Last year the Prime Minister was involved in a different scandal known as SNC-Lavalin. In that instance, two of his Ministers resigned while Trudeau maintained (contrary to the evidence) that he’d done nothing wrong.

The current scandal involves WE Charity, a group that had paid Trudeau’s mother more than $300,000 for speeches was recently given a no-bid contract from the government. After the scandal broke the contract was rescinded but the situation still stinks like corruption.

In addition to losing his Finance Minister Monday, Trudeau announced Tuesday that he was proroguing the current Parliamentary session, i.e. shutting it down for a month. Officially the reason is that Trudeau wants to reset the government with a new focus on the coronavirus, but his action also happens to shut down the ongoing investigation into the WE Charity scandal:

The move to “reset” the government because of Covid comes amid committee investigations into the WE charity affair, in which Trudeau and former finance minister Bill Morneau face accusations of an improper financial relationship with the international development organization. Both men have apologized for not recusing themselves amid apparent conflicts of interest.

Prorogation will suspend all government business, including the investigation…

“We are taking a moment to recognize that the throne speech we delivered eight months ago made no mention of Covid-19, had no conception of the reality we find ourselves in right now,” he told journalists in Ottawa.

The National Post points out that Trudeau could have held his “reset” speech in September by simply proroguing Parliament a day before the speech:

Trudeau could have waited to prorogue until a day before the throne speech. Instead, by proroguing now, Parliament will be suspended for more than a month.

A prorogation puts a stop to all ongoing parliamentary work, including on proposed legislation and any studies being done in committee. Three parliamentary committees — the finance, ethics, and government operations committees — had ongoing investigations into the WE Charity scandal that will be halted by the prorogation.

So there doesn’t seem to be any real reason for doing this now except to attempt to reset the scandal situation and shut down the investigations which would likely have generate headlines that were negative for Trudeau. The opposition parties are seeing this move for what it is.

There’s also a hypocrisy angle here as Trudeau’s party apparently vowed not to use this tactic back in 2015. Here’s Trudeau being asked about his apparent hypocrisy yesterday. The way he stares into the camera and lies without shame reminds me of Bill Clinton in his prime.