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BRIAN LILLEY: Trudeau Liberals block another attempt to hold them to account

The Canadian and Chinese national flags hang side-by-side in this file photo.
The Canadian and Chinese national flags hang side-by-side in this file photo.

In what could best be described as part of a pattern, the Trudeau Liberals shut down an attempt to investigate wrongdoing by the federal government on Tuesday.

The Liberal majority on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development voted not to call witnesses or hold hearings on claims that two former diplomats were pressured to toe the Liberal Party line on China.

Last week, two former Canadian ambassadors to China told the Globe and Mail that they were called by officials at Global Affairs about their public comments on Canada’s relations with China.

Both David Mulroney and Guy Saint-Jacques said they received calls invoking the power of the prime minister’s office to question their criticism of the government’s handling of the China file.

Attempts to hold hearings and call witnesses by the Conservatives and NDP were shut down by a 5-4 vote where the Liberal majority said there was no need to look into the matter.

“I can confirm that the PMO did not direct that to happen,” Trudeau said on Monday when asked about the claims by the two former ambassadors.

It’s reminiscent of Trudeau’s statements on the SNC-Lavalin affair where Trudeau said that he did not “direct” former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to offer SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart deal to avoid prosecution on bribery and corruption charges.

Of course we would later find out that 11 senior Liberals, including Trudeau himself, tried 22 different times to convince Wilson-Raybould to give SNC the deal they so desperately wanted.

But there was no direction, nothing untoward, which is why Liberals eventually shut down the committee hearings when things got embarrassing for the PM.

Now we are seeing the same thing when it comes to the foreign affairs committee attempting to look into the pressuring of the two former ambassadors.

“This is a pattern for Justin Trudeau. He abuses the power of his office to reward his supporters and silence his critics,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

“And when he gets caught, he simply shuts down any attempt to get at the truth.”

Liberal MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Global Affairs, Rob Oliphant accused the Conservatives of attempting to politicize the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

“There should be nothing more on our minds than assuring their safety and considering their well being,” Oliphant said.

And yet despite months of Liberal diplomacy and the attempt to invoke the help of the Americans and other allies, we have two Canadians that remain detained on trumped-up charges.

Add to that the fact that the Liberals are now invoking the power of the prime minister’s office to silence those that are critical of their handling of the issue and we have to wonder what is more important.

Are they concerned about the release of Spavor and Kovrig or are they concerned about the “election environment” as the bureaucrat expressed to David Mulroney.

It should not be lost on anyone that this is the second time that the “election environment” has been invoked by the Trudeau Liberals on a serious issue. The last time being by the PM himself as he tried to deal with the SNC-Lavalin file.

In that instance, he told Jody Wilson-Raybould that he was the MP for Papineau in Quebec as he asked her to cut a deal with SNC.

Now he wants compliance from former diplomats who could embarrass him on the China file as he seeks re-election.

What Justin Trudeau seems to forget is that government is not there to service his needs but rather he is there to service the needs of government..

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