OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family friend and “special rapporteur” David Johnston will not have to testify about his dealings with the embattled Trudeau Foundation after NDP MPs voted with Liberal MPs to prevent him from being summoned before the House of Commons.
The 6-4 vote, which prevents Johnston from having to testify, was held last Thursday by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, whose vote in effect has adjourned debate on the matter.
The NDP MPs on the committee are the reason Johnston will be spared, for now at least, from having to go before the House.
Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MPs on the committee were not pleased with the vote. CPC MP and committee chair John Williamson noted that the request for Johnston to be summoned is in effect a “demand.”
“It is a demand that is rarely rejected because it is akin to a court order. It virtually obliges the individual to appear,” he said as noted by Blacklock’s Reporter.
The summons came via a one-sentence motion in which the committee asked that “in relation to its study on the Trudeau Foundation the committee authorize the chair to summon witnesses on its behalf.”
The motion was supported by CPC and Bloc Québécois MPs but rejected by the Liberal and NDP MPs.
As stated by Bloc MP Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné, the committee’s “time is limited,” adding, “We need to act to be able to do what we were mandated to do, carry out a study on the Trudeau Foundation.”
Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos claimed the motion was “an extraordinary step.”
“If this is the direction we’re going to go, it’s a minority Parliament and opposition members will try to take the steering wheel,” he said.
Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan claimed that such a summons was akin to a “subpoena from a lawyer” and said there could be “legal consequences.”
As for Johnston, who is a former Governor-General, he had rejected calls to testify due to his close connection to the Trudeau Foundation, especially considering his appointment in March by Trudeau as “independent special rapporteur” to investigate the allegations that China was meddling in Canada’s elections.
He was listed as a member of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, whose entire board of directors and CEO and president resigned in April after a report surfaced detailing how the non-profit group received a $200,000 donation that was alleged to be connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
After the CCP-linked donation scandal broke, the Foundation said it would be returning the money, and Johnston’s name disappeared from its website.
The donation revelation came amid an ever-growing number of reports alleging that the CCP has been meddling in Canada’s last two federal elections, both of which saw Trudeau emerge victorious.
Williamson noted that the system would in effect “break down if we allow witnesses to defy a request.”
“Witnesses do not excuse themselves because they don’t feel like coming,” he stressed.
If the committee’s vote would have been successful, it would have been the first time since 2001 that MPs mandated someone appear before the House of Commons.
Last week, Canadian MPs from all parties except the Liberal Party voted in favor of a non-binding motion that demanded Johnston, who was tasked with looking into Communist China meddling in Canadian politics, be replaced.
Johnston, a little over a week ago, concluded there should not be a public inquiry to investigate alleged CCP election meddling because the matter could involve divulging state secrets.
He served as Governor-General, the Queen’s representative, from 2010 to 2017. Although he was appointed by former Conservative Party of Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Johnston has deep family ties to Trudeau.