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The Conservatives on Monday failed to launch a parliamentary investigation into recent expenditures by the Liberal Party, after it paid money in 2019 and 2020 to a firm headed by a childhood friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Liberal MPs pushed back against the review in an emergency meeting of the House of Commons ethics committee, accusing the opposition of engineering a “fake scandal” while failing to address similar spending practices by other major political parties. Following hours of debate, the Liberals with the help of the Bloc effectively voted down a motion by Conservative MP Michael Barrett that would have kicked off two committee hearings to investigate payments made by the Liberal Party to a Liberal-friendly Montreal-based firm. The emergency meeting came after reports that the Liberal Research Bureau, a taxpayer-funded office, paid $75,000 in public funds to Data Sciences, a company owned by Tom Pitfield, a Liberal strategist who ran the last two digital election campaigns for the party. Pitfield is also a childhood friend of Trudeau’s and spouse of Anna Gainey, the former president of the Liberal Party of Canada.

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