Canadian PM Justin Trudeau survives vote of confidence, avoids snap election

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Oct. 22 (UPI) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received a vote of confidence from lawmakers, who declined to create a special committee to investigate his administration on accusations related to ethics and spending.

Trudeau’s Liberal Party, with help from the New Democratic Party, beat back a motion late Wednesday by the Conservative Party to create the investigative panel.

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The motion was defeated by a vote of 180 to 146. Members of the Green Party and independents joined the Liberal Party in opposing the committee.

Conservatives had pushed for the panel to look into Trudeau’s spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ethical issues, particularly one involving a WE Charity contract to administer a student volunteer grant program.

Conservatives say the government misspent some of the $150 billion it paid out for aid programs, and criticized the $680 million contract given to the charity because it had paid Trudeau’s mother and brother for speaking engagements in the past.

With the motion defeated, Trudeau avoided a possible snap election that could have ended his tenure as Canada’s head of state.

Trudeau, who won re-election last year, argued that the special committee would have stalled the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic and stimulate the economy.

“Nobody wants elections,” he said ahead of the vote. “People want to continue to have their government focused on helping them in their jobs, helping them in this health crisis and that’s what we will continue to concentrate on.”

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said the defeat will not prevent his party from holding Trudeau and Liberal Party members accountable for their response to the pandemic.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said although his party supported Trudeau in the vote, he still wants answers to the WE Charity via the ethics committee. He said Conservatives’ call for a special committee was unwarranted.

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