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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly faces his own quid pro quo accusations, although in his case, the accusations appear to actually be legitimate.
The accusations concern the Toronto-based WE Charity, which was awarded a nearly $1 billion contract by the Trudeau administration last month on the basis that it was the only organization that was “capable” providing what the administration needed.
“As the public service dug into it, they came back with only one organization that was capable of networking and organizing and delivering this program on the scale that we needed it, and that was the WE program,” the PM said at the time.
Weeks later, word broke that the PM’s mother, Margaret, and brother Alexandre have both previously been paid big sums of cash to appear at WE Charity events.
“WE Charity has provided details of the speaking fees paid to both individuals for their participation at events between 2016 and 2020,” CBC News reported.
“Both Margaret and Alexandre are registered with the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau, which arranges appearances for clients in exchange for negotiated fees. Margaret spoke at approximately 28 events and received honoraria amounting to $250,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000.”
That’s a lot of events and a lot of money.
Moreover, Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, reportedly received $1,500 for participating in a WE event in 2012.
After the bombshell report dropped, the PM tried to blame the choice of the WE Charity on his cabinet.
WATCH: Trudeau passes blame to cabinet on making final decision to award WE Charity a government contract, says he didn’t refuse himself from the decision despite his family’s close ties to the charity.
Is Trudeau the most corrupt PM in Canada’s history? pic.twitter.com/AAe7QQGces
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 8, 2020
The bombshell report followed weeks criticism during which Trudeau faced backlash for issuing a “sole-source” contract to WE Charity to reportedly distribute $912 million worth of grants post-secondary school students
In response to the backlash, last week WE Charity reportedly pulled out of the program, known as the Canada Student Service Grant, and Trudeau announced that his administration would go ahead and handle the grant distributions itself.
“The decision taken by WE this morning to withdraw from this work with the government is one that we support. Obviously, the way this situation has unfolded has been unfortunate,” the PM said at a presser.
“We will continue to work hard to make sure that young people get the opportunities to serve their country, but it will no longer be with the WE organization.”
“The decision taken by WE this morning to withdraw from this work with the govt is one that we support,” PM Trudeau tells reporters when asked re announcement that WE charity will no longer run $900M student program; PM says situation unfolded in “truly unfortunate” way. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/IVVNYFzqL1
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) July 3, 2020
He warned however that his administration, for some reason or another, wouldn’t be as effective at distributing the grants as the WE organization.
“There are certain things that we will not be able to do as government delivers this program. Directly reaching out to actively search and pull in volunteers was something that WE organization could do because of its extensive network and practice, as well as support and training and onboarding volunteers,” he said.
The remarks raised red flags, especially since the WE Charity allegedly has “no background in delivering a program of this size and apparently no capacity to do it,” according to Charlie Angus, a Member of Parliament:
NDP MP @CharlieAngusNDP has called out the prime minister’s ties to the WE Charity: ‘This is a group closely tied to the Trudeau family that had no background in delivering a program of this size and apparently no capacity to do it.”
— CTV National News (@CTVNationalNews) July 10, 2020
“The latest news is really disturbing because now we have the prime minister effectively lying to Canadians. He was very clear when this scandal broke, and this scandal broke because everybody knew about the close Trudeau ties to WE. His mother worked with them, his brother worked with them, his wife ran the podcast. Justin’s brand, the Trudeau brand and the WE brand came up together,” Angus said in the clip above.
“So when the prime minister was asked about the financial payments, he said that there were none — that it was just for travel. But no we learn that throughout his time as prime minister, his family members were receiving enormous amounts of money. How was he not aware of that?”
That’s a question that Canadian Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion will most likely be seeking to answer.
“The federal ethics commissioner is investigating the WE contract to administer the volunteer grant, after Conservative and NDP MPs contacted the office raising concerns about the relationship between the charity and the prime minister’s family,” CBS News reported.
Trudeau is also reportedly facing calls or him to step aside “for a few months” as the matter is investigated.
“For a few months, I think the prime minister must step aside and leave the function, the responsibilities, to the deputy prime minister … because for the time being he cannot be considered as being qualified to keep doing the job,” Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet reportedly said.
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