Liberals continue to block probe into $1B WE Charity scandal

Opposition decries Liberals defying Parliament's will as Liberal House Leader, unable to answer key questions about the WE Charity scandal, testifies in place of PMO staffer Rick Theis, who the Commons committee had voted to have testify.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Federal opposition parties are expressing frustration and anger after the Liberal government sent its House leader to answer a parliamentary committee's questions today on a now-dead WE Charity deal.

The House of Commons ethics committee had been expecting to hear from one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's senior advisers, Rick Theis, after a majority of MPs voted in favour of such a request last week.

But Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez showed up instead, saying he had forbidden political staff from appearing and that the buck ultimately stops with cabinet ministers.

Opposition members subsequently accused the Liberals of defying the will of Parliament, and criticized Rodriguez for not being able to answer many of the questions about Theis's involvement in the government's decision to have WE run a federal student grant program.

They also accused Rodriguez in his testimony of contradicting some of thousands of documents produced by the government last summer about the deal with WE, which was later cancelled amid concerns about the organization's ties to members of Trudeau's family.

Liberal members in turn accused the opposition of dragging out the committee's study on WE, suggesting there was little more to learn about how the deal came together.

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