Liberals accused of ‘filibustering’ vote on motion to have Boissonnault witnesses testify

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Liberal MPs are rejecting Opposition efforts to telephone Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault’s business associates to attest earlier nan parliamentary ethics committee, saying Conservative members are abusing committee powers.

“This is not a responsible measurement of going astir this. If we were to fto nan morals commissioner look into this matter, that mightiness beryllium nan much responsible approach,” Liberal MP Iqra Khalid said successful committee connected Tuesday.

She based on against witnesses appearing earlier nan committee and a erstwhile amendment to nan mobility that would’ve forced Stephen Anderson, who co-owns a Global Health Imports (GHI) pinch Boissonnault, to manus complete a database of existent and erstwhile labor of nan aesculapian proviso company.

“Asking an employer to uncover nan identities of each azygous worker his institution has ever had…It is nan meaning of overboard,” Khalid said.

On Tuesday, NDP and Conservative members of nan committee accused Liberal members of filibustering nan ballot connected nan mobility put guardant connected June 4 by Tory MP Michael Barrett. The morals committee was suspended for nan 2nd clip this week earlier a ballot could beryllium held.

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“The Liberals are doing backflips, trying to make excuses and muddy nan waters to say, ‘Okay, well, telephone records, but not witnesses,” Tory MP Damien Kurek said successful committee connected Tuesday. “It each comes down to a very, very, very elemental question: Who is this individual referred to arsenic ‘Randy’ successful these matter messages?”

Last week, Global News reported that personification named “Randy” had allegedly sent messages to Anderson instructing him connected really to grip a business transaction successful September 2022. Boissonnault was tourism curate and subordinate finance curate astatine nan time.

In nan matter speech obtained by Global News, Anderson urged Ghaoui to ligament a $500,000 deposit for a ample shipment of nitrile gloves Ghaoui was to acquisition from GHI. Anderson apparently forwarded her a connection straight from a disappointment “Randy” asking him why nan money hadn’t been sent yet.

When asked if he worked pinch different Randy, Anderson stated that he did but would not disclose nan employee’s afloat name. Global News was incapable to verify immoderate specifications related to a 2nd worker astatine GHI named Randy.

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Anderson has not since responded to questions astir this different Randy’s identity. Boissonnault said he has had nary engagement pinch GHI since he was elected successful September 2021.

The curate continues to ain a 50-per cent liking successful GHI, according to firm records. His shares are held by a numbered company, 2256956 Alberta Ltd. Anderson owns nan different half of nan company.

The Conflict of Interest Act allows nationalist officeholders to ain companies, but they tin tally afoul of nan rule if they run aliases negociate businesses while successful office.

Testifying earlier nan committee past Tuesday, Boissonnault many times denied that he was nan “Randy” mentioned successful nan matter speech and said he had followed each morals rules to nan missive of nan law.

“I person had nary operational engagement successful this institution since I was elected,” Boissonnault said.

NDP MP Matthew Green said Boissonnault’s unwillingness to reply “straight and nonstop questions” during nan proceeding near him pinch much questions.

“I recovered him to beryllium evasive astatine times, possibly moreover a spot arrogant, fixed nan seriousness of this,” Green said successful an question and reply connected Monday.

He supports nan Conservative mobility which calls for Anderson and Kirsten Poon, a lobbyist with ties to Boissonnault, to look earlier nan morals committee.

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It initially called for “the different Randy” to attest earlier nan committee, on pinch Malvina Ghaoui, proprietor of The Ghaoui Group, a California-based individual protective instrumentality (PPE) procurement company, but it was amended connected Monday to exclude some from appearing arsenic witnesses.

Khalid put guardant an amendment connected Tuesday that would unit Anderson to manus complete his telephone records and matter messages, alternatively than an worker list. The amendment passed.

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Conservative members said that would beryllium inadequate owed to nan plethora of messaging apps available.

Barrett projected an amendment requesting that nan connection beryllium changed to see “iMessages and each instant messages and calls from each applications.” He besides said Boissonnault should supply this worldly to nan committee, too. The gathering was suspended earlier nan alteration could beryllium voted on.

Following Global News’ reporting, Canada’s morals commissioner opened a lawsuit record to look into nan matter. Boissonnault said he resigned from GHI erstwhile he won backmost his Edmonton Centre spot successful September 2021.

“He has had nary domiciled successful nan operations of nan institution since that time, has nary insights into immoderate business dealings aliases issues pinch nan institution aliases its existent employees, and has received nary income aliases dividends from nan institution since being elected,” wrote Alice Hansen, Boissonnault’s head of communications, successful a anterior statement.

When a lawsuit record is opened, nan Office of nan Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner conducts a preliminary review.

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“Some of these reviews whitethorn lead to investigations if nan Commissioner has reasonable grounds to investigate. When an investigation is not recovered to beryllium warranted, nan lawsuit record is closed,” wrote Michael Wrobel, a spokesperson for nan morals commissioner’s office.

The matter messages person been nan taxable of overmuch statement and spectacle successful nan House of Commons, pinch Opposition MPs demanding “the different Randy” guidelines up and show himself.

Boissonnault’s agency argues that he couldn’t person sent nan matter messages because he was successful Vancouver astatine a furniture retreat connected Sept. 8, 2022, nan day nan matter speech occurred.

“During furniture retreats, each physics devices are prohibited from entering gathering rooms, and Ministers were successful lock-up passim nan day,” Hansen wrote successful a statement.

However, Global News reporters coming astatine nan furniture retreat said that thing prevents ministers from exiting meetings to cheque their devices, which are besides returned during respective breaks passim nan day.

The matter speech and alleged “partner call” occurred betwixt 12:15 p.m. PST and 1:00 p.m. PST, astir nan clip luncheon would typically occur.

Hansen said Boissonnault shared some individual and authorities telephone records pinch nan morals commissioner, arsenic good arsenic nan minister’s afloat schedule for that day.

Hansen refused to stock nan schedule pinch Global News, saying they are “of concealed information classification” and truthful cannot beryllium shared pinch nan media.

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She said nan minister’s telephone records, which person not been viewed by Global News, bespeak that Boissonnault had nary telephone calls betwixt 11:12 a.m. PST and 5:37 p.m. PST.

— pinch files from Patti Sonntag

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