A story by Canadaland revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother and brother were paid combined, hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at WE events in recent years.
In late June, the federal Liberal government tried to make the WE Charity responsible for the administration of a $912 million government grant. The grant program was created to give recent graduates and students compensation for volunteer work, including up to $5,000 for 500 hours, during the COVID-19 pandemic. WE Charity was to get $19.5 million for administration costs.
Earlier in July, the federal ethics commissioner announced an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau related to his government’s now-scrapped $912-million contract with WE Charity. The ethics commissioner will review whether the prime minister contravened the Conflict of Interest Act because of his personal connection with WE Charity.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s office is investigating Trudeau’s conduct under three sections of the act. One section forbids public office holders from making decisions on matters where they have a conflict of interest. Another section says they must recuse themselves from votes or decisions on matters where they have a conflict. The third section deals with giving preferential treatment to a person or group.
Trudeau participated in WE events in the past, and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, hosts a podcast on well-being for the organization. His mother Margaret Trudeau is an ambassador for the charity.POLL: Should Justin Trudeau step down while the WE Charity investigation is ongoing? Click To Tweet
Trudeau defended his government’s actions saying it was the public service — not him — that chose to partner with WE for the Canada Student Service Grant program. He also said WE was the “best and only” group his government could team up with to administer the program.
The ethics commissioner already found the prime minister violated ethics rules in two previous investigations; the SNC-Lavalin affair and his family’s 2016 trip to the Aga Khan’s private island.
Some say Justin Trudeau should step down while the WE Charity investigation is ongoing.
BREAKING: Ethics Commissioner launches investigation into Justin Trudeau’s involvement in awarding $900M contract to charity with close ties to his family and the Liberal Party. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/E6IMWNm36n— Michael Barrett (@MikeBarrettON) July 3, 2020
The Ethics Commissioner has agreed to my request to launch an investigation into @JustinTrudeau for breach of Section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act over the decision to hand a single source contract of $900 million to WE.— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) July 3, 2020