Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier holds a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier holds a press conference in Ottawa on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Opposition shuts WE hearing as Liberals again refuse to let staffer testify

Committee members expressed anger and frustration over what they described as the Liberals’ defiance of Parliament

Opposition members shut down a parliamentary committee hearing this afternoon after the Liberal government once again refused to let a political aide appear to answer questions about the now-dead deal with WE Charity.

Members of the House of Commons’ ethics committee had asked a senior adviser to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to testify following order to that effect from Parliament last week.

But the Liberal government, which has said it will order political staff not to appear before committees, instead deployed Associate Finance Minister Mona Fortier to appear on Amitpal Singh’s behalf.

It was the second time a minister appeared instead of a ministerial aide after government House leader Pablo Rodriguez took the place of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policy director earlier this week.

While the committee ultimately decided to hear what Rodriguez had to say on Monday, opposition members refused to do the same with Fortier today and instead used their majority to adjourn the meeting after only 20 minutes.

The government has said ministers are ultimately responsible for their staff, but committee members expressed anger and frustration over what they described as the Liberals’ defiance of Parliament.

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