House of Commons rises for summer after day of partisan shots
Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:55PM EDT
The House of Commons has voted to rise for the summer, with all parties agreeing to the motion, but not before one final day of partisan attacks.
Earlier Tuesday, Conservatives continued to attack Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over his speaking engagements, amidst a report that details of the fees had been circulated by a staff member in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Conservative MP Ben Lobb said Trudeau accepted money from unions for public speaking engagements, and “is now a vocal opponent of the union transparency bill, and his party is opposing it in the Senate."
Lobb said he would raise the issue with the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, and was supported by Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino.
After weeks of being embroiled in the Senate expense scandal, the Conservatives have seized on Trudeau’s speaking fees.
According to a report from Laurie Watt published by the Barrie Advance, PMO communications officer Erica Meekes sent the paper an email about Trudeau’s 2007 speaking engagement at Georgian College, which left the school with a $4,118 shortfall.
Trudeau was paid $10,000 to speak at the event.
Watt reported that Meekes sent her the information "with the caveat that it be referred to as coming from a 'source,' not the PMO.”
In her email to the Barrie Advance, Meekes said the PMO was offering the details “as a follow-up to the growing controversy over the weekend on Justin Trudeau charging charities for his speaking services.”
The Barrie Examiner newspaper also revealed in an editorial Monday that the PMO sent the news outlet the same information.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Harper did not directly address the revelation.
Harper only said Tuesday that he does not believe Trudeau charging charities was "appropriate."
"Look, my view is, in terms of my own comportment, my view is that what is not appropriate, I, you know, as someone who is paid by the public, I get good remuneration from the taxpayers of Canada, as a public servant, I don't think it's appropriate for me to then take money from charities," he said.
On Monday, the Conservatives circulated documents about Trudeau’s Georgian College speech, as well as his appearances at charity events for the University of Guelph and a business dinner hosted by the Ontario municipality of Chatham-Kent. According to the documents, all three events lost money.
The Liberal leader has been under fire for collecting speaking engagement fees from charity groups since he entered federal politics.
The controversy erupted after the Grace Foundation, a New Brunswick charity that funds a seniors’ home, complained it paid Trudeau $20,000 to speak at a 2012 event that aimed to raise $300,000, but ended up losing money.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall also called on Trudeau to pay back another $20,000 fee he collected for speaking at a literacy conference in Saskatoon, which left the organization with a surplus of just $7,000.
Several former and current Conservative senators are also hired speakers who have made thousands of dollars: Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Larry Smith and Jacques Demeres.
On Sunday, Trudeau told CTV’s Question Period that he’s willing to "make it right" with any charitable organization that has paid him to speak at an event, but was unsatisfied with the results.
Between 2006 and 2009, Trudeau earned $1.3 million for public speaking engagements. He revealed that income during his campaign for the Liberal leadership and said he’d stopped accepting paid public speaking engagements after throwing his hat into the ring.
With a report by CTV's Richard Madan in Ottawa