Trudeau On The Hot Seat Regarding WE Charity

Trudeau On The Hot Seat Regarding WE Charity

He admits he should have recused himself from the contract with WE Charity but his interest in youth issues clouded his decision-making.

"When I received the information on May 8, that the public service was recommending WE Charity to deliver this program, I pushed back".

He says he only learned that the charity had been recommended by the public service for the programme in early May. And on this occasion, the probe is directly related to the WE Charity contract. "And that I regret because young people aren't having the opportunities they would have had this summer through that program", Trudeau admitted.

"We pulled the item from the agenda so that we could be doing the right thing, the way", Trudeau told the Commons finance committee. Morneau and his family also had overseas trips sponsored by the WE organization.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Trudeau says the public service assured him that WE Charity was the only organization capable of delivering the Canada Student Service Grant Program.

Both the prime minister and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, have regularly participated in WE Charity events.

"But did not pay her".

Trudeau acknowledged his family's involvement with WE, and stressed that his wife's unpaid work with WE on a podcast on mental wellness, as well as expenses covered by the organization, had been cleared by the ethics commissioner.

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In the case of the 2016 visit, Trudeau suggested he saw no conflict of interest in the visit to the private island of a family friend, omitting that the Aga Khan Foundation is registered as a lobbyist to the Canadian government and that records indicate the foundation was in receipt of some $47 million from the government in 2016.

The escalating scandal over a multimillion-dollar programme granted to WE Charity Canada has hurt Trudeau in the polls, with his Liberal Party slipping to a four-point lead over the opposition Conservatives, an Abacus Data poll showed Thursday.

To this date, the prime minister has steadfastly refused to confirm such appearances were limited to the three occasions of which we are aware.

Morneau told the finance committee last week he had freshly repaid WE Charity more than $41,000 in expenses for trips his family took in 2017 to see and take part in some of its humanitarian work.

"The concerns about the personal connections my family had were all around perception", Trudeau said on Friday.

Testimony by a Canadian prime minister before a parliamentary committee is very unusual.

Trudeau's chief of staff Katie Telford testified that the civil servants presented it as a "binary choice" - either they moved ahead with WE Charity to deliver the program or they wouldn't go ahead with it at all.

Poilievre asked Telford why WE began working on the student grant program and incurring expenses May 5 if it had not yet been approved by cabinet. They said they wanted to get the program going quickly, knowing they could lose money if cabinet said no.

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