Jul 30, 2020
By Christine Ross
In his testimony to the Commons finance committee, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says WE Charity didn’t receive any preferential treatment.Trudeau says he first learned about the proposal to have the Charity run the Canada Student Service Grant on May 8th, just hours before it was scheduled to be discussed at a cabinet meeting. But he knew it would come under scrutiny, and pulled the item from the agenda to have more questions answered. Two weeks later, he says he learned the public service reaffirmed its decision that WE was the only organization that could run the student-volunteer program.
The Prime Minister was grilled on his family’s ties to the organization but says everything was above board.
“WE charity received no preferential treatment, not from me, not from anyone else,” Trudeau told the committee during his opening statement.
Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre grilled the Prime Minister, like he did earlier in the week with the founders of WE charity.
“You were twice found guilty of breaking the ethics act before, strikes one and two and now you admit a third strike by failure to recuse yourself in the process you broke the ethics act a third time,” said Polievre. “What happens in baseball when you have three strikes?”
Trudeau says the grant is now unlikely to be part of the $900-million dollar student aid program Ottawa is rolling out this summer during pandemic.WE has paid speaking fees and covered travel expenses to totally half a million dollars for Trudeau’s mother and brother, much of it since he became prime minister in late 2015.