October 19, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Ethics watchdog investigating Trudeau about alternative of WE Charity to run $900M scholar grant system

Ethics watchdog investigating Trudeau over choice of WE Charity to run $900M student grant program

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has introduced an investigation of Primary Minister Justin Trudeau over the government’s selection to job the WE Charity — which has ties to Trudeau’s family — with administering a $900 million summer pupil grant method.

Trudeau and his govt have been under hearth considering the fact that asserting the deal since of the charity’s shut association with the Trudeau household.

Trudeau and his mom, Margaret, have appeared at a amount of WE Day situations, while Trudeau’s spouse, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, hosts a podcast for the team named “WE Very well-remaining.”

WE Charity explained in a assertion to CBC Information that customers of the Trudeau family don’t receive any appearance fees or honoraria when they appear at WE activities. Grégoire Trudeau has been reimbursed for travel expenditures relevant to her volunteer do the job with the business.

Before these days, the WE Charity and the federal government announced they had been ending the partnership.

Dion initiated his investigation after Conservative MP Michael Barrett and NDP MP Charlie Angus separately wrote his business office asking him to take a look at the prime minister’s conduct in relation to the deal.

In a letter to Barrett, Dion said he will be investigating Trudeau underneath subsection 6(1) of the Act, which prohibits public business office holders from generating choices that further their have non-public passions or the pursuits of a further individual.

Trudeau also is being investigated under sections 7 and 21 of the act, which deal with providing anyone preferential treatment method and failing to recuse from a conflict of curiosity.

The WE Charity was started off by human legal rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger in 1995. Last month, Trudeau introduced that it would administer the Canada Scholar Support Grant, which will give suitable students with up to $5,000.

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Charities push back

The grants are intended to aid learners include the price tag of write-up-secondary schooling in the tumble. The volume of the grant relies upon on how substantially time a pupils spends doing volunteer get the job done. 

Shortly right after it was declared that We Charity would be functioning the application, the Liberal governing administration came beneath fire from opposition get-togethers and some persons in the charitable sector. 

Watch: Federal govt components means with WE charity on scholar grant program:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters following information emerged that the WE charity would no extended operate Ottawa’s $900M software. 2:04

Volunteer Canada, a team that promotes volunteerism, stated it would refuse to work with WE Charity due to the fact it objected to how the system was becoming administered and to the plan of having to pay pupils for volunteer get the job done.

Trudeau initially defended the partnership, declaring WE was the only group with a nationwide network capable of operating a program on this scale for younger people. Other charitable organizations have questioned that assertion.

While the We Charity was tasked with jogging the program, it was getting only $19.5 million to address its costs — $5 million of which was meant to be passed on to associate corporations these as Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Pathways to Education.

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Conservative Chief Andrew Scheer said that if Trudeau is self-assured that We Charity was the correct selection, he should be eager to create proof to back up the selection.

“You can find even now no rationalization as to why one charity with this level of involvement with the Trudeau family members was the only one particular,” Scheer told visitor host Catherine Cullen on CBC News Network’s Energy & Politics. 

“Did they do an exhaustive look for? What can they stage to as justification for We becoming the only team that can do this? Did they do an assessment? We’d like to come across out this info.”

PMO spokesperson Chantal Gagnon explained to CBC that the business would “of course collaborate with the commissioner and response any concerns he may possibly have.”