As you are aware, over the last few weeks, the Finance Committee has been holding meetings to get to the bottom of the WE scandal. Prime Minister Trudeau appeared as a witness last week, where, with the help of Liberal committee members, he attempted to avoid answering any questions regarding his role in the WE Charity scandal. Unsurprisingly, his testimony left Canadians with more questions than answers.
Here is what we know:
WE Charity saw fewer donations being made due to the ongoing pandemic. They approached the government in the early spring with a proposal for a smaller-scale program for them to deliver, despite not being registered as lobbyists. A short time later, on April 22nd, the Canadian Student Service Grant (CSSG) was announced by the Liberal Government. A member of the PMO spoke to WE about their proposal on May 5th. The same day, WE began charging tens of millions of dollars in expenses for administering the program, despite not yet officially being granted the contract. Cabinet would not actually approve the proposal for another two and a half weeks.
Additionally, the contract was not given to WE Charity directly, but to WE Charity Foundation, a shell foundation with real estate holdings but no history of charitable works.
This raises the question: Why was WE so sure they were going to receive approval for this program? Justin Trudeau's very close relationship with the organization seems to provide the answer.
While Trudeau and his top Ministers continue to throw junior Ministers and the Public Service under the bus, Canadians are not convinced by their excuses. No Public Servant would or could recommend a shell company with no charitable record to receive nigh on a billion dollars without approval and guidance from Cabinet.
There is also little to no chance that a junior Minister could have signed off on and administered such a large sum of public funds without the knowledge of the Finance Minister and Prime Minister, both of whom had conflicts of interest with WE.
In fact, by his own testimony, Trudeau was aware that there was a conflict of interest and claimed he pulled the WE proposal from the May 8th cabinet meeting to send it back to the Public Service for further scrutiny. Interestingly, not one of the several Ministers and senior officials who have testified mentioned Trudeau did this. And even if he had, why did he not recuse himself from the decision, knowing he was in a conflict of interest?
Despite Trudeau supposedly requesting additional scrutiny, it seems no one found any issues with this contract or WE itself. Yet earlier this week at the Finance Committee's hearings we heard testimony from Charity Intelligence who, after only looking into WE for a few days, confirmed the many problems with it. Those problems being a broken bank covenant, the byzantine intertwining network of WE corporations, and no evidence that WE has ever delivered a program the size of CSSG. Again, we find ourselves asking, why was WE chosen? Why did the government claim that WE was the only organization that could deliver such a program?
If one thing is becoming clearer as the hearings go on, it is that this was never about helping students. This was about bailing out friends of Trudeau and Co.
Their attempts to cover themselves are not working. The Ethics Commissioner is already investigating, and my Conservative colleagues have written to the RCMP and the Lobbying Commissioner asking them to investigate.
Our Conservative Caucus will get to the bottom of this. Canadians have had enough, and are demanding accountability from this corrupt Liberal government. It is time for the Prime Minister, along with the MPs who have defended him, to take responsibility for their clear violation of the trust of the Canadian people.
My colleagues and I will continue to push for answers, and the truth.
I hope this was of interest to you.
Kelly Block, MP