Problems for Trudeau erupted after the contract, worth up to $ 43.5 million C, was signed with WE Charity to administer a $ 544 million student grant program that is part of Canada’s pandemic response. Trudeau has already been found guilty of breaking conflict of interest laws since becoming minister twice in 2015, and the latest in a series of investigations by the ethics commissioner – an investigation involving his finance minister – and calls from rivals for his resignation.
We work on international development projects and educational programs, mainly in the US and Canada, that teach young people about civic engagement. But the deal, announced in late June, was canceled within days amid a riot over charity ties to the Trudeau family, including revelations that his mother and brother were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in speech fees, travel and hospitality from the organization over the past half decade.
Trudeau himself has spoken at major WE events and his wife has been one of the group’s ambassadors, which is an unpaid role in addition to expenses.
While questioning the field on Thursday, Trudeau reiterated that in oversight he should have left the Cabinet decision-making process over the contract once he discovered WE were involved. He also stressed that the pandemic cloud had accelerated the overall pace of policy discussions and that he did not appreciate the recommendation to go with WE, which came from the public service.
Trudeau said he was informed by government officials that given the short timeframe it was a binary choice: go with the NE or the program would not go ahead at all.
At another point in the hearing, Trudeau suggested that because of those past ethical controversies he approached the WE contract more carefully.
But Trudeau critics were not shaken by his introspection. New Democrat MP Charlie Angus said he did not buy the prime minister̵7;s explanation, calling it “an apparent conflict of interest” because of his connection to WE co-founders Marc and Craig Kielburger.
“There were a lot of red flags with this proposal. It split from the second one that was announced,” Angus told Trudeau. “It gives you an impression … that you do not believe that the laws define what politicians can and cannot do. they do, they apply to you. “
Angus said Trudeau’s actions that led to the cancellation of the contract have hurt young people hoping to be compensated for volunteer opportunities this summer.
Trudeau took a risk with his appearance before a parliamentary committee, where opponents could suffer witnesses in sometimes-chaotic environments known for constant interruptions, raising voices and testable exchanges.
The Prime Minister was repeatedly pressured about how much we paid for his wife’s last trip to an event in London if he had read the Conflict of Interest Act and had leveled questions about who would be fired for the contract award decision WE.
The shocking contract we have also ruined Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Trudeau’s credible response to the Covid-19 federal response. Morneau revealed to the same committee last week that he failed to pay more than $ 41,000 in travel expenses from trips he, his wife and one of their daughters took with WE in 2017. Morneau, who has a daughter who works for us, insisted that he only realized he had not paid for the travel expenses.
Morneau, who is also under investigation by the ethics commissioner, has also publicly apologized for his non-acceptance of the decision to award the contract to WE.
Both Trudeau and Morneau have faced demands from political rivals to resign over the issue and polls suggest the controversy has already eroded Liberal support and Trudeau approval ratings, which rose after the pandemic began.
Since last fall’s election, there has been little apparent appetite among opposition parties to defeat Trudeau’s Liberal minority government and trigger another election. But the Conservatives are determined to elect a new leader in late August and may be tempted to overthrow the government.
The prime minister has indicated he can resist scandals, including the public disclosure during last year’s election campaign of his brown-clad images 20 years ago.
His first breach of ethics law was for an entire spending break for 2016 that he and his family took to the private Caribbean island of Aga Khan. Then, last year, the ethics watchdog revealed that Trudeau broke the law of conflict of interest after he and his staff repeatedly asked his former attorney general to make a plea agreement with engineering firm SNC-Laval, which faced allegations of corruption.
Trudeau also fades the blow from a 2018 trip to India when he had to turn down a dinner invitation he would issue to a Sikh extremist who had been accused of trying to assassinate an Indian politician. .
Despite the controversy, Trudeau was re-elected again last year – but voters reduced him and his Liberals to a minority status in Parliament. The weakened mandate has forced them to work with opposition parties to pass legislation and keep the government afloat.
The WE contract has also given more control over the financial activities of the major international charity itself. Earlier this week, the Kielburgers posed questions before the finance committee.
We have had considerable international reach. Her website, which features photos of Kielburgers featuring international celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, says the charity has worked with some of “the world’s most famous thinkers and activists”.