Conservatives forcing a vote to create an Afghanistan response special committee
OTTAWA -- The Conservatives want to create a special all-party House of Commons committee to study the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the government’s response, and will be forcing a vote on a motion calling for the prime minister to testify and turn over relevant documents.
As his party’s first opposition day motion of the 44th Parliament, on Tuesday Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will be putting forward a motion proposing the creation of this committee to conduct hearings into what happened earlier this year when Afghanistan fell.
Specifically, the Conservatives want to examine what contingency planning Canada had in place, its evacuations of Canadians, and efforts to bring to Canada Afghan interpreters and others who previously helped the Canadian Armed Forces in the region.
They are looking to call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as both the current and former ministers who led on the file over the summer including Harjit Sajjan, Marco Mendicino, and Marc Garneau. The motion also compels a quick turning over of federal documents, emails, notes and other records related to Canada’s evacuation effort from several departments including the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The Liberal government has brought less than 10 per cent of the Afghan refugees to Canada that they promised,” O’Toole said Monday, during a press conference speaking about the Official Opposition’s agenda for the week ahead. “This committee will help Canadians understand why they failed to act.”
The Conservatives want the committee to be comprised much like other House committees, with proportional distribution of members based on standing in the House. The motion states the committee should hold its first meeting no later than Dec. 17, and finalize its report within six months of the motion passing.
The motion will be up for debate on Tuesday, and likely voted on later in the week.
A similar approach to enact a special cross-party study into a pressing foreign affairs topic was taken at the start of the last parliament by O’Toole.
For the Conservatives’ first opposition day of the 43rd Parliament, they proposed and later got opposition backing to create a special Canada-China committee that focused on the state of the relationship between the two countries.
On Thursday, which will also be a Conservative opposition day, O’Toole said he’ll be advancing a second motion, this one aimed at holding the government to account “for their failure to address the cost of living crisis that is pricing families out of their homes and driving up the cost of everyday goods.”
Specifically, the Conservatives will be calling on the government to act on something that was a Conservative campaign promise: to “review and consolidate all federal real estate and properties in Canada in order to make at least 15 per cent available for residential development,” and commit to not introduce a capital gains tax on primary residences.
This motion is based on the premise that, in O’Toole’s view, the government has failed to increase the housing supply in Canada and that the government’s spending has caused “a surge of inflationary pressure” driving home prices up. Should other parties back this motion, they’d be getting behind that sentiment.