Trudeau faces ethics probe over financial entanglement with ‘WE Charity’ founded by Catholic Kielburger bros
OTTAWA, July 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative members of Parliament are asking for a police investigation into the Liberal government’s decision to give WE Charity a no-bid contract to manage its student volunteer program in the wake of news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother and brother received almost $350,000 over four years to speak at WE events.
Trudeau is also facing an investigation by Canada’s ethics commissioner into allegations that his government breached conflict-of-interest rules when it awarded WE Charity a single-source $19.5-million contract to administer the $912-million Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), CBC reported.
The prime minister has been dogged by controversy over his close ties to WE Charity since he announced June 25 that the Toronto-based international youth organization would administer a new Liberal program that offers grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to post-secondary students in return for volunteer hours.
Trudeau told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that he did not recuse himself from Cabinet discussions leading to the decision to award the contract to WE Charity, CBC reported.
WE Charity is but one branch of WE, which Catholic brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger started as the child advocacy group Free the Children in 1995, and which has grown into an international organization that bills itself as a movement that “empowers people to change the world.”
Many Catholic school boards participate in the WE Schools program, in which students earn the right to attend the charity’s problematic WE Days. These stadium mega-events often feature sexually charged acts by performers such as rapper Big Sean, Jennifer Lopez, and Kardinal Offishall, as well as appearances by abortion advocates such as Harry Potter film star Emma Watson and Trudeau, Canada’s most pro-abortion prime minister, who has spoken at WE Days both on his own and with his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau.
Although the Liberals and WE canceled their agreement last week, controversy erupted anew when Canadaland and CBC revealed Thursday that Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, and his brother, Alexandre, received a total of nearly $350,000 over the last four years to speak at WE events.
It was also revealed that Gregoire-Trudeau, an ambassador for WE and host of a podcast connected to the charity, received $1,400 to speak at a WE Day in 2012, before her husband entered politics, CBC reported.
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This contradicted a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office Wednesday that “[t]he Prime Minister and his wife have never been paid by WE,” the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.
But in response to inquiries from Canadaland, WE said that between 2016 and 2020, it paid Margaret Trudeau $312,000 for 28 speaking events and Alexandre Trudeau $40,000 for eight events, and that these totals included a 20-percent commission paid to their speaking agency.
WE explained that ME to WE Social Enterprise, its separate for-profit entity and one of the many sponsors of WE Day, paid the honorariums via the Speakers’ Spotlight speaking bureau.
However, in what the organization describes as a “billing error,” WE Charity paid $64,000 directly to Margaret Trudeau, Canadaland reported.
The news prompted Conservative finance critic M.P. Pierre Poilievre to request that Parliament be recalled to look into the scandal, as he tweeted Thursday:
We must recall Parliament immediately to get answers and bring accountability.— pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) July 9, 2020
The Prime Minister personally intervened to direct a billion-dollar program to a group that had paid his family almost $300k.
Not in Venezuela. Not in Zimbabwe.
In Canada. https://t.co/MCvAA7iNNj
Poilievre and Conservative ethics critic M.P. Michael Barrett said at a Friday news conference that revelations that Trudeau family members received money from WE raised the matter to a potentially criminal level and represented “sufficient grounds to be investigated by police,” Global News reported.
They are asking the RCMP to look into whether a Criminal Code section related to government fraud applies to the Liberals’ decision to grant WE the multi-million-dollar contract.
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet has called on Trudeau to step aside from the role of prime minister “for a few months” while the WE contract is investigated, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.
Neither Poilievre nor Barrett would say Friday if he thinks Trudeau should step down, but Barrett said it is more important to “hear from the cabinet [members] who were all party to this decision” as to what they knew and when.
“Did they know that the prime minister’s family was receiving significant cash to do these events? Were they aware?” he said.
Conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mario Dion told Barrett in a letter last Friday he will investigate if Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act when his government awarded WE Charity the contract, CTV News reported.
This will be Trudeau’s third ethics investigation since he was first elected prime minister in 2015, as noted by HuffPost. Dion ruled last year that the prime minister improperly pressured his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. In 2017, he was found to have breached ethics when he accepted family vacations on the Aga Khan’s private island, it reported.
LifeSiteNews has reported extensively on the problems with WE Days, as well as the fact that Marc Kielburger admitted in March 2011 in a letter to the Ottawa Catholic School Board that Free the Children stocked contraceptives at their Baraka medical clinics in Kenya. The Kenyan bishops asked Canadian and U.S. Catholics to stop funding the charity for this reason.
The brothers signed a Mother’s Day Manifesto in 2011 denouncing the Conservatives’ planned funding cuts to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, describing the abortion provider as “an organization that provides reproductive health services abroad” and the government’s action “paternalistic refusal to offer women in Africa the same rights offered to women in Canada.”