The Commons Ethics Committee has voted 6-4 not to disclose all fees paid to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire, through the family's talent agency, Speakers' Spotlight of Toronto, Blacklocks Reporter has reported.
The motion was forwarded on July 22 and has since faced a lengthy filibuster by the Liberals to prevent their release.
The motion, sponsored by Conservative MP Michael Barrett, would have required Speakers' Spotlight to disclose corporate sponsorships and contractors' fees paid to the Trudeau family. It originally included Trudeau's mother Margaret and his brother Alexandre, but their names were dropped from the motion earlier, despite them collectively receiving $456,070 from WE Charity alone.
Ethic Committee chair David Sweet said that Speakers' Spotlight “already had [the records] prepared. They are ready to be surrendered to us at a moment’s notice.”
The vote came as a shock to many as the sole Bloc Quebecois MP on the committee voted against the motion. According to the Bloc Quebecois House Leader Alain Therrien, the vote was cast due to a "translation problem." Speaking to CTV News, NDP Ethics Critic Charlie Angus called the excuse "ridiculous."
Liberal MPs objected to the release of these records due to privacy concerns. According to Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan, “[that] is of course part of our raison d’etre, that we safeguard the privacy of Canadians regardless of what the context is. That is a principle we maintain.”
Prime Minister Trudeau preempted the potential release of the records by publishing a list of sponsorships and fees he collected via the agency between 2006-2012. The records revealed that Trudeau had made over $1.3 million from speaking fees in that period, frequently charging $20,000 per an appearance. According to Government House Leader Pablo Rodrigues, “Speakers’ Spotlight has confirmed the accuracy of the events and fees listed.”
Barrett, unhappy with the results, said in a statement "[it’s] clear that Liberal MPs will do everything they can to hide the arrogance and entitlement of this Prime Minister."
The defeat of the motion comes less than a week after the Conservative House motion to create a standing committee on corruption was shot down by Liberal, NDP, and Green Party MPs. The Liberals threatened that the passage of such a motion would be treated as a confidence vote, which would have triggered an election amid a second wave of coronavirus.