Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are under investigation for ethics violations…again!
The controversy surrounds the awarding a nearly $1 billion grant—designed to pay students to volunteer—to WE charity, an organization with close ties to both men and the Liberal Party.
Despite initial denials, it turns out Mr. Trudeau’s wife, his mother and brother have been paid an unprecedented $566,346 in speaking fees and travel by the organization—thus creating a clear conflict of interest. Trudeau himself has also spoken at WE events.
Mr. Morneau had $41,000 in luxury travel paid for by WE. One of his daughters works for WE and another has spoken at multiple events. WE staff were also, allegedly, urged to attend Morneau political events. More conflict of interest.
This grant came at a time when WE was under intense financial pressure. Their former Board Chair testified in Ottawa last week that she was forced to resign after asking WE founders, Craig and Mark Kielburger, for financial records.
Moreover, the grant money did not go to WE proper but to a shell corporation designed as real estate holding company—why does a charity need that, one might ask?
You can Google a detailed timeline of the controversy but needless to say, handing nearly $1 billion of taxpayer money to a charity that was in serious financial and PR trouble means somebody dropped the ball, bigtime.
If this was a one-time occurrence one might be able to chalk it up to the pressure of responding to COVID-19, or just plain stupidity, but this is hardly the first ethical dilemma this Liberal Government has found itself facing.
Bill Morneau was investigated, previously, by the Ethics Commissioner in 2017 for failing to disclose property he owned and again in 2018 for alleged insider trading.
Justin Trudeau has been investigated numerous times by the Ethics Commissioner and been found guilty of breaking federal conflict of interest laws on two previous occasions—the first sitting Prime Minster to be found guilty of such offences.
Mr. Trudeau testified before the Finance Committee last week and, to nobody’s surprise, refused to accept responsibility. Just the usual double talk, platitudes and excuses that have come to characterize his public persona.
Since becoming Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s government has given WE millions of taxpayer dollars. In return, WE gave Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party a platform to promote their ideology directly to thousands of impressionable young people. This was a mutually beneficial political alliance.
Like his interference in the SNC Lavalin prosecution, this was about bailing out the Prime Minister’s friends.
The Ethics Commissioner is investigating, the Finance Committee continues their hearings, and Conservatives have written to the Lobbying Commissioner and the RCMP asking them to investigate as well.
We will continue to hold Justin Trudeau and his government accountable and we will keep fighting for the answers that Canadians deserve.