Trudeau facing ethics and criminal questions over $900 million We contract

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jerrym
Trudeau facing ethics and criminal questions over $900 million We contract

The Trudeau Liberal government is facing a political crisis over questions over his giving a $900 million dollar contract to the We charity even though his wife, mother and brother had received almost $300,000 from the charity. The ethics commissioner has already announced that he will examine whether Trudeau committed ethical violations in awarding the contracts. There are also demands that the RCMP investigate the contract to see if a criminal offence has occurred. 

Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immediate family received hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at events hosted by WE Charity, the organization at the centre of a widening political scandal for the Liberal government.

Trudeau is facing his third ethics investigation as prime minister for his government’s decision to sole-source the delivery of a $900-million volunteering grant program to WE Charity.

The prime minister has said that both he and his family had “voluntarily” worked with WE in the past and they intend to continue that work. But WE confirmed that members of Trudeau’s family, including his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, have received financial compensation for speaking at WE-hosted events.

The existence of financial payments between WE and the Trudeau family was first reported by Canadaland and CBC News on Thursday.

Margaret Trudeau, the prime minister’s mother, received $250,000 in honorariums for speaking at 28 WE-hosted events between 2016 and 2020. Alexandre Trudeau, the prime minister’s brother, received $32,000 in speaking fees between 2017 and 2018.

WE said both were booked for the events through Speakers’ Spotlight, a company that connects notable speakers to corporate and charity event organizers. The company once featured Justin Trudeau, before his acceptance of paid speaking gigs as an MP set off a minor scandal. The payments were supposed to be from ME to WE Social Enterprise, WE’s for-profit corporation, not the charity itself.

Grégoire Trudeau, an “ambassador and ally” to WE who also hosts a podcast for the charity, was given a one-time honorarium of $1,400 for speaking at a WE event in 2012.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/07/09/trudeaus-family-memb...

jerrym

Another question arises from the We producing an ad that features Trudeau in a very favourable manner, raising questions about whether the two sides were trading favours. The url below includes the video. 

A 2017 ad from WE Charity that appears to promote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government is being highlighted by critics this week as Trudeau faces an ethics investigation over handing a $900-million sole-source contract to the group, which has paid members of his family hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees.

The ad, entitled “WE are Canada,” and devoted exclusively to Trudeau, appears to be linked to the Canada 150 celebrations and shows stylized silhouettes of Trudeau across backdrops of mountains and farmer’s fields, while Trudeau speaks about young people and his intentions to work hard.

“I pledge to work hard for all Canadians,” says Trudeau’s voiceover, urging young people to “live WE.”

https://nationalpost.com/news/critics-denounce-we-charity-campaign-style...

jerrym

This is the third time in less than five years in power Trudeau has been investigated for ethical violations, something no other PM has done.

Previously, Trudeau's visit to the island owned by the Aga Khan, who repeatedly lobbies the government, was a costly ethical problem for taxpayers. "Some of the money taxpayers paid as a result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial Bahamas vacation went to a billionaire Trudeau has described as a close family friend. ... Trudeau's vacation ended up ended up costing taxpayers $127,000. ... "It stinks, the whole thing stinks," said NDP MP Nathan Cullen." (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-agakhan-bahamas-spending-1.4053585)

"Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson found in December 2017 that Trudeau violated ethics rules by accepting the trip to the Aga Khan's island." (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-aga-khan-lobbying-investigation...)

Trudeau also broke the ethics rules in the SNC Lavalin scandal according to the ethics commissioner's report. "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s ethics watchdog declared Wednesday in a bombshell report." (https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/trudeau-breached-federal-ethics-...)

NDPP

See also here:

https://rabble.ca/babble/national-news/prime-minister-justin-trudeau?page=8

 

CBC Radio The House: Could WE Take Down The Government?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cbc-radio-s-the-house-could-we-take-dow...

"To sort out what this means for the Liberal government going forward, guest host Catherine Cullen asks CBC Chief Political correspondent Rosemary Barton and Toronto Star political columnist Susan Delacourt for their views..."

jerrym

Trudeau is not the only Liberal with family links to the We charity. One of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's daughter's currently works for the charity while the other spoke at a We event and received support for her first book from We founder Marc Kielburger. Yet Trudeau and Morneau did not even bother to recuse themselves from the issue during Cabinet discussions. 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not recuse himself from recent discussions involving the WE organization, though, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he has relatives involved with the group. ...

The revelation comes amid mounting opposition scrutiny over the Liberals’ decision to award WE Charity a contract to administer a $900-million youth grant program. A decision to halt the agreement was announced last Friday, and the ethics commissioner is investigating whether Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules in light of his family’s ties to the organization. ...

As reported by Canadaland on Friday, two of Bill Morneau’s daughters — Grace Acan and Clare Morneau — are connected to the group.

Acan is a contract employee for WE, a spokesperson for the minister’s office confirmed.

She started working for WE last year following an internship tied to her education in community development. Acan first worked as a co-ordinator for ME to WE trips, and since March Acan has been part of WE’s schools team, the organization said in a statement.  ...

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus wrote a letter to Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion on Friday asking him to investigate whether Morneau breached his duties under conflict of interest legislation. It would seem apparent that Minister Morneau would recognize that the fact that his family member was an employee of this organization necessitated him to recuse himself regarding this extraordinary decision to outsource nearly billion-dollar commitment of public funds in a single source contract,” Angus wrote. ...

Morneau’s other daughter Clare is a speaker and advocate on refugee issues. She has spoken at three WE Day events, according to the charity.

n 2016, while still in high school, she published a book called Kakuma Girls. Marc Kielburger, who co-founded the WE organization with his brother Craig, provided a blurb praising the book.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7162866/bill-morneau-we-daughter/

 

NDPP

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is once again in the crosshairs of Canada's ethics commissioner. Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch explains what the WE charity scandal means for his party and why Canadians should take notice."

https://twitter.com/globalnewsto/status/1282683703727214592

 

WATCH: "Team Trudeau created the WE program out of thin air. Had Trudeau recused himself, the program would never have existed."

https://twitter.com/PierrePoilevre/status/1282726126008311808

 

Charlie Angus NDP (and vid)

https://twitter.com/CharlieAngusNDP/status/1282707282497867777

"The WE scandal is not a question of Justin Trudeau being impolite. The question is why he ignored his legal obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act. An even bigger question is why nobody in the PMO explained to him his duties on an issue so obvious."

Or other cabinet ministers such as his deputy PM Chrystia Freeland? Answer, because it was clearly wrong to issue a sole source contract to a 'Charity' with which the Trudeau family had obtained financial benefit. And any cabinet level objection raised would have immediately scuppered this bizarre billion dollar outsourcing.  Even though the standard process was to deliver these funds would have been through an existing government program. And so what about the poor students anxiously awaiting the promised and desperately needed funds? Trudeau and Morneau may have apologized but there are still more questions than answers to this increasingly bad smelling fiasco.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I am gobsmacked that there was no clear thinking person in the room to raise the OBVIOUS problems with this decision, even before Trudeau and Morneau's own family connections to the organization were uncovered. The public service has clear rules that you can only sole source contracts that are worth under $25,000. That is $25k not under $25 million. What were these so-called departmental leaders thinking if they indeed did come up with this ridiculous and wholly offside idea? And if this ridiculous and offside idea came from the PMO, why were there no voices of reason including departmental leaders and government lawyers on hand to stop it or at least outline what a disaster it would be. The fact that two families (Trudeau and Morneau) and other ministers are tangentially connected is like icing on a f*ck cake.

kropotkin1951

laine lowe wrote:

I am gobsmacked that there was no clear thinking person in the room to raise the OBVIOUS problems with this decision, even before Trudeau and Morneau's own family connections to the organization were uncovered. The public service has clear rules that you can only sole source contracts that are worth under $25,000. That is $25k not under $25 million. What were these so-called departmental leaders thinking if they indeed did come up with this ridiculous and wholly offside idea? And if this ridiculous and offside idea came from the PMO, why were there no voices of reason including departmental leaders and government lawyers on hand to stop it or at least outline what a disaster it would be. The fact that two families (Trudeau and Morneau) and other ministers are tangentially connected is like icing on a f*ck cake.

The spin machine is at full throttle trying to make it all about Trudeau not recusing himself from the deal. The reporters are not going hard after the real story which is that this is an untendered contract that the public service is capable of doing and political insiders would have benefited from.

Pondering

I wish it were otherwise but I expect this to have less impact than the Duffy affair. Liberals, and politicians in general, behave this way because they can get away with it. Everybody already knows Trudeau is a spoiled rich boy. The Conservatives still won't be able to take him down.

It would be great if they can be held to a minority but even that is a longshot. Hopefully the NDP can gain some ground.

jerrym

The We charity also seems to have substantial problems related to racial minorities raising questions about why there was not investigation of working conditions for an organization that was about to supervise the volunteer work of thousands of young people of a diverse range of racial backgrounds. 

A petition endorsed by more than 200 current and former We employees calls for the founding Keilburger brothers to apologize for their treatment of racial minorities has been signed by more than 1200 people.

Former employees of WE Charity are speaking up against what they see as oppressive incidents against racialized people within the organization.

Last month, former WE employee Amanda Maitland posted a video to her Instagram in which she says she was hired in 2018 to speak on racism during a tour of schools in Calgary.  Maitland said after a few presentations in Calgary, Maitland flew to Toronto for a feedback meeting with members of the charity. It was during this meeting that a panel of predominantly white employees handed her a re-written speech for her to use instead of the one she had written herself for the presentations. ...

“I almost fell off my chair when I was given a new speech to read,” Maitland said in the video. “There was no heads up or dialogue that the team on the back end felt the need to change my speech. I feel like there was so much lack of understanding and that just made me angry and that’s just an honest emotion. I was angry. I felt completely dismissed.”

WE is the largest youth empowerment organization in Canada, founded by brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger.

Maitland said the new speech was a “watered down” version of the one that she had been presenting and removed much of the personal experiences she had been speaking about. "They wanted me to talk about just stuff like the Oscars and cornrows,” she told CTV News.

During a town hall about the work culture at WE, Maitland said she brought up some of her issues with the organization and was shut down by Marc Kielburger. "(He) silenced me completely, to be like ... ‘We heard you, we got your email, you tried to reach out, enough,'” she said. "There's definitely is a problem with race, there's definitely a problem with diversity and there's definitely a problem with silencing of people of colour's voices."

Maitland resigned from the charity shortly afterwards. ...

Since Maitland posted the video, several other former WE employees have come forward with their own stories when it comes to the culture at the organization.

“The overall culture of WE charity is deeply oppressive," said former employee Sarah Koff in an Instagram video. 

More than 1,200 people have signed a Change.org petition, which calls for a formal apology from the Kielburgers, to hire women of colour to help transition the charity toward anti-racism and to offer free support services to any person of colour who’s been impacted by the charity’s practises, past and present. The petition has been endorsed by more than 200 current and former employees.

WE has also come under fire in recent weeks after it was revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government had pegged the organization to manage its $900-million program to pay students and recent graduates for volunteer work over the summer.

Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, have close ties to the organization.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/racialized-former-we-employees-accused-cha...

jerrym

The We charity told former NHL star Theo Fleury, who is Metis and who did some work for the charity, that it does not pay for celebrity speeches. We also refused to pay African-Canadian singer Jully Black for her work, and even refused to pay $100 dollars for phone calls from Africa to her very sick mother while she worked for them there. I guess things are different if you are white and named Trudeau or Morneau. 

Meanwhile, former pro hockey player Theo Fleury wonders why he wasn't paid when he was invited to speak at a WE event. ...

Canadian singer Jully Black has also pointed out on her Instagram feed that she wasn't paid for her appearance.

www.straight.com › news › we-charity-sheds-hundreds-...

NDPP

Inside The 'Cult' of Kielberger

https://www.canadalandshow.com/inside-the-cult-of-kielburger

"...The way they treat young people,' said a former WE director who left in the last three years, is incredibly toxivc and inappropriate.' Fourteen former employees likened WE to a cult..."

NDPP

Kielburgers' Power of Youth Nurtured By Jesuits

https://www.catholicregister.org/item/15848-kielburgers-power-of-youth-n...

"If you want to make people believe in something they've never seen and half the world says is impossible, start young. The Kielburgers learnt that lesson from the Jesuits of Brebeuf College in Toronto...The Kielburgers have not been afraid to involve children as young as kindergarten..."

'Ite, inflammate omnia.' Much becomes clearer. Especially the Trudeau connection. WE is probably not the best organization to be 'sole-source' entrusted with millions in public funds or the 'inspiration' of children.

NDPP

Who Makes the Decisions in Justin Trudeau's Ottawa?

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/who-makes-the-decisions-in-justi...

"Unless we understand how the government decided to team up with WE, we can't be sure it won't happen again."

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

Who Makes the Decisions in Justin Trudeau's Ottawa?

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/who-makes-the-decisions-in-justi...

"Unless we understand how the government decided to team up with WE, we can't be sure it won't happen again."

I haven't studied this matter extensively, but it seems pretty clear to me that this company got the government business because they made an investment in Trudeau a decade or so ago, and they have been cultivating him ever since. I would guess that Trudeau, like a less obviously obnoxious Trump, insisted on getting his own way and working with his cronies, regulations and normal procedures be damned. The apparatus of the party and the state was mobilized to ensure that this would happen. Classic influence peddling.

By the way, this is another illustration of the well known fact that politicians can be bought pretty cheap. If this had gone through, look at the ROI. This outfit invested less than  $1 million in the Trudeau family, and almost got a $950 million contract in return. You've got to figure that a bunch of grifters like this would have taken at least 20% off the top. That is, $1 million would have returned at least $200 million for the crooks behind WE. Trudeau should have gotten a much, much larger bribe for a payout like this.

NDPP

I agree. Perhaps that's why the Chinese refer to him as small potatoes.

bekayne

Michael Moriarity wrote:

I haven't studied this matter extensively, but it seems pretty clear to me that this company got the government business because they made an investment in Trudeau a decade or so ago, and they have been cultivating him ever since.

They've been receiving money from provincial governments of all political stripes

Michael Moriarity wrote:

 almost got a $950 million contract in return.

A $19.5 million contract to administer $950 million

 

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

bekayne wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

I haven't studied this matter extensively, but it seems pretty clear to me that this company got the government business because they made an investment in Trudeau a decade or so ago, and they have been cultivating him ever since.

They've been receiving money from provincial governments of all political stripes

Proving that there are corrupt/clueless politicians of all political stripes. Of course, Trudeau wasn't the only one they bribed.

bekayne wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

 almost got a $950 million contract in return.

A $19.5 million contract to administer $950 million

If you believe that they wouldn't have found ways to siphon off more than their alloted payment from this program, you are a great deal less cynical than I am.

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:

I wish it were otherwise but I expect this to have less impact than the Duffy affair. Liberals, and politicians in general, behave this way because they can get away with it. Everybody already knows Trudeau is a spoiled rich boy. The Conservatives still won't be able to take him down.

It would be great if they can be held to a minority but even that is a longshot. Hopefully the NDP can gain some ground.

The NDP looks to be holding its ground amid a rise in Liberal support that could collapse the Conservatives into a tie for third place. Perhaps the best outcome is for the NDP to become the Official Opposition in a wrap-around effect of the massive seat loss for the Conservatives.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

The more we hear about WE, the more they start to sound like freaking Scientologists. And in the case of the latter, it is always amazing to see how wide a net they cast across the whole entertainment industry (music, film, television, etc). Perhaps WE is like that but with an emphasis on recruiting politicians of all stripes and exploiting celebrities of all colours for free. Kidding but still there is something fairly nasty about WE Charity and their for profit spin off "WE to ME" or is it vice versa?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

laine lowe wrote:

The more we hear about WE, the more they start to sound like freaking Scientologists. And in the case of the latter, it is always amazing to see how wide a net they cast across the whole entertainment industry (music, film, television, etc). Perhaps WE is like that but with an emphasis on recruiting politicians of all stripes and exploiting celebrities of all colours for free. Kidding but still there is something fairly nasty about WE Charity and their for profit spin off "WE to ME" or is it vice versa?

Yeah, any organization that has a non-profit "charity" coupled with a for-profit "social enterprise" will max out my scam detector.

NDPP

Climenhaga: From Us to WE: Former British PM David Cameron's 'Big Society' Concept Lives On

https://buff.ly/3h4iiMB

"...Consider the brouhaha about the WE Charity that prompted some Conservative attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a few days but will probably peter out now that it's been revealed such Conservative worthies as Laureen Harper, [Kim Campbell,] Peter MacKay and Andrew Scheer also seem to have ties to the organization. This would explain Trudeau's preposterous claim WE was the only organization in the country capable of running a nationwide COVID-19 student volunteer program.

If they weren't ordered directly to do so, the top mandarins of the Canadian public service were certainly conditioned to look for charities to do this kind of work because that's the stealthy way neoliberal governments achieve their goals when voters can't be persuaded they are sound policy..."

jerrym

NDPP wrote:

If they weren't ordered directly to do so, the top mandarins of the Canadian public service were certainly conditioned to look for charities to do this kind of work because that's the stealthy way neoliberal governments achieve their goals when voters can't be persuaded they are sound policy..."

Since the civil service regularly runs the 75,000 student summer jobs program, the notion that it could not run this program with 35,000 applicants instead of the We charity is nonsense. And of course the government is now admitting it with the scandal developing around We by using the civil service to run the program. The tragedy is the civil servants could have had the program up and running with students now doing volunteer work if the civil servants had been in charge from the beginning.

I suspect that the truth about why it took two months after the program was annoucned for the We charity to be announced as its administrator in return for $19 of the $900 million was because We had to hire the supervisors to run the program, the same supervisors who are now laid off in the midst of high unemployment. 

Also why is We allowed to get away with paying less than the minimum wage anywhere in Canada by simply saying the work is "volunteer'?

Pondering

The reason I think none of this will matter is because it is already par for the course. It's difficult to keep up the outrage when everyone is doing it all of the time. The numbers behind privatization need to be tackled along with corrupt city management and workers to restore faith in government.

NDPP

Trudeau May Have 'Blind Spot' on Ethics, Says Former Parliamentary Watchdog

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mary-dawson-trudeau-we-charity-blind-sp...

"Mary Dawson says Trudeau's relationship with WE Charity also must be probed. "One doesn't continue to do the same thing twice,' Mary Dawson told CBC News Power & Politics today. 'There seems to be a little bit of a blind spot or something there..."

kropotkin1951

Michael Moriarity wrote:

NDPP wrote:

Who Makes the Decisions in Justin Trudeau's Ottawa?

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/who-makes-the-decisions-in-justi...

"Unless we understand how the government decided to team up with WE, we can't be sure it won't happen again."

I haven't studied this matter extensively, but it seems pretty clear to me that this company got the government business because they made an investment in Trudeau a decade or so ago, and they have been cultivating him ever since. I would guess that Trudeau, like a less obviously obnoxious Trump, insisted on getting his own way and working with his cronies, regulations and normal procedures be damned. The apparatus of the party and the state was mobilized to ensure that this would happen. Classic influence peddling.

By the way, this is another illustration of the well known fact that politicians can be bought pretty cheap. If this had gone through, look at the ROI. This outfit invested less than  $1 million in the Trudeau family, and almost got a $950 million contract in return. You've got to figure that a bunch of grifters like this would have taken at least 20% off the top. That is, $1 million would have returned at least $200 million for the crooks behind WE. Trudeau should have gotten a much, much larger bribe for a payout like this.

Canadian PM's and Premiers come cheap.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_affair

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Vander_Zalm

jerrym

Liberal MP Nathaniel Esrkine Smith for York said on Power and Politics that he had been complaining about why this was not done by the civil service for a couple of months, to which the host of the show Vassy Kapelos agreed because he had been on the show previously. Smith said the civil service had done these kinds of service programs for years, so even a Liberal backbencher is raising questions about why We got the contract. 

 

 

NDPP

Deputy Enabler Apologizes (and vid)

https://twitter.com/PnPCBC/status/1283856085158371330

"Everyone in the cabinet bears responsibility for this situation... I'd like to say to Canadians, I'm really sorry,' said Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland about the WE Charity controversy. 'The prime minister has my complete confidence. It is a privilege for me to serve in his cabinet."

NDPP

WE Charity Contract Could Have Been Worth Up To $43.53 Million Says Chagger

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/we-charity-contract-chagger-committee-1...

"Initially, the federal government said WE Charity would get $19.5 million for administering the grant program..."

 

Liberals Delay Vote on Ethics Committee's Probe of WE Contract

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/liberals-delay-vote-on-ethics-committee-...

"The Liberal members of the House of Commons committee have stalled a vote on whether to study the nature of the government's WE Charity contract and review past speaking appearances of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family. The NDP amendment proposes that the committee share the speaking records and the associated fees or reimbursements by Trudeau, his wife Sophie, his mother Margaret and his brother Alexandre with the ethics commissioner..."

 

WATCH: "According to new testimony, the WE Charity submitted a proposal to government on the same day  (April 22) the PM announced the government would be looking at a student volunteer grant program."

https://twitter.com/PnPCBC/status/1283884882511495180

 

Definitely smells like 'something is rotten in the state of denmark'...

NDPP

Engler: Media Focus Ignores WE Charity's Negative Impact on Young Canadians' Understanding of Global Justice

https://buff.ly/32tZS3R

"...A little discussed reason the federal government funds NGOs is to coopt internationalist-minded young people into aligning with Canadian foreign policy. Thanks to the Kielburgers and WE, a generation of kids have learned about 'international development' but still don't know what an IMF structural adjustment program is..."

Pondering

NDPP wrote:

Engler: Media Focus Ignores WE Charity's Negative Impact on Young Canadians' Understanding of Global Justice

https://buff.ly/32tZS3R

"...A little discussed reason the federal government funds NGOs is to coopt internationalist-minded young people into aligning with Canadian foreign policy. Thanks to the Kielburgers and WE, a generation of kids have learned about 'international development' but still don't know what an IMF structural adjustment program is..."

Thanks, very informative.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I wish it were otherwise but I expect this to have less impact than the Duffy affair. Liberals, and politicians in general, behave this way because they can get away with it. Everybody already knows Trudeau is a spoiled rich boy. The Conservatives still won't be able to take him down.

It would be great if they can be held to a minority but even that is a longshot. Hopefully the NDP can gain some ground.

The NDP looks to be holding its ground amid a rise in Liberal support that could collapse the Conservatives into a tie for third place. Perhaps the best outcome is for the NDP to become the Official Opposition in a wrap-around effect of the massive seat loss for the Conservatives.

That would be wonderful but I have assumed the Conservative core base will still stick with them, or the party will split again.

I imagine the prairies will continue to be home to the Conservatives but do you think the Federal NDP could pick up more seats?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

The federal NDP performance in Saskatchewan has been a disappointment the last two decades. It's not great shakes in Manitoba but not as bad as in Saskatchewan. As for Alberta, that province is the heart and soul of the new CPC.

Misfit Misfit's picture

The Conservstives had horribly gerrymandered all the constituencies in Saskatchewan to benefit themselves considerably in every single riding when they formed government under Harper. That accounts for some of that twenty year drought. In 2015 the boundaries were redistributed somewhat and the NDP did regain some seats then which they lost again in 2019.
 

The old guard NDP generation who survived the Great Depression have now past so the NDP will have to work much harder to market themselves here which they historically do a very poor job of doing. Jagmeet Singh didn't help himself out by calling the Saskatchewan NDP "over privelaged white people". There is a lot of racism on the prairies and Mr. Singh will have a hard time attracting more than the traditional core base here as long as he is the leader, and I also am of the impression that that suits him just fine. 

NDPP

How ironic that a party in bed with a powerful global PR and advertising firm like Hill & Knowlton is so maladroit at marketing themselves.

Misfit Misfit's picture

This is all off topic for this thread. I think that Mr. Singh really shines as a leader especially in speaking out on racism. He is flat on fundraising and building a national profile for the party.

His privelaged remark strikes at the heart of another weakness he has which is lashing out with labels at people who disagreee with decisions that he has made.  Ryan Meili called his privelaged remark uncalled for and asked for him to apologize. Mr. Singh refused. 
 

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/canada/article-jagmeet-singh-says-he-wont-apologize-for-privilege-comment/

I'm bringing this up because Saskatchewan is a province with very deep ties to the NDP. This is a place where you would want to invest time and resources into rebuilding that base, but it is like eastern Canadian leaders don't want to do that. It's like they see our province as not having the population and seat count to waste time and energy on focusing instead on B.C. and southern Ontario where they feel that it is more cost effective and productive to market.

Until we get a national leader with more maturity and a willingness to work with us, the NDP will continue to be a little to no show in Saskatchewan.

 

 

NDPP

Property Brothers: Kielburgers Facing Scrutiny Over WE Organization's $50M Real Estate Empire

https://nationalpost.com/news/property-brothers-kielburgers-facing-scrut...

"Over the last five years the WE international development empire has cumulatively amassed over $50 million in real estate. The transactions associated with WE entities acquiring various pieces of property are sometimes complex..."

NDPP

Paying Volunteer Students Less Than Minimum Wage Was Federal Government's Idea Says WE Charity

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/student-aid-volunteer-we-charity-trudea...

"Organizations fearful that paying $10 per hour or less could violate labour laws."

No problem, so long as the Trudeaus got paid hundreds of thousands.

 

Liberal Member Bardish Chagger Met With WE Charity Days Before Student Program Announced by Trudeau

https://www.thestar.com/politics/liberal-minister-bardish-chagger-met-wi...

"Bardish Chagger's office confirmed Monday the youth minister spoke to WE co-founder Craig Kielburger on April 17 - five days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the creation of the volunteer grant program."

Sounds like it was all pre-arranged, 'in the bag' and no cabinet objections would be forthcoming. Liberanos back.

NDPP

'It's Not Just About the PM': Singh (and vid)

https://twitter.com/PnPCBC/status/1285600883733127171

"What we are asking for is for the prime minister to show up in committee, to waive cabinet confidentiality and release all documents, but our concern is that it's not just about the prime minister...' said Jagmeet Singh about the WE Charity controversy..."

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

'I't's Not Just About the PM': Singh (and vid)

https://twitter.com/PnPCBC/status/1285600883733127171

"What we are asking for is for the prime minister to show up in committee, to waive cabinet confidentiality and release all documents, but our concern is that it's not just about the prime minister...' said Jagmeet Singh about the WE Charity controversy..."

 

I don't have a twitter account, but I clicked through that link and my goodness, it seems that almost every single reply is from a rabid Liberal insisting that Singh has been paid off by the CPC to make this statement. They certainly are loud and numerous, and they try to sound oh-so-serious, but they only succeed in being pompous fools.

kropotkin1951

It is the same scandal as the SNC versus Judy standoff. The Liberal insiders in Ottawa are a very tight knit group and they expect to pick up the phone and get the appropriate Minister to do what they want. It is what we call democracy, for some peculiar reason. The last thing the Liberal's want is a spotlight on the old boys club and its improper influence over public policy.

NDPP

Trudeau, Morneau Had To Be Involved in WE Charity Decision, Top Bureaucrat Tells MPs (and vid)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/we-charity-finance-committee-1.5657494

"... Media reports in recent days have detailed some financial irregularities associated withWE and have detailed the orgnization's extensive real estate. 'If they had read the financial statements, they would have found that WE was in breach of its bank covenants,' Poilievre said. 'It seems hard to believe that noone would have alerted the government to these facts about the organization.' The Liberals have said the non-partisan public service recommended WE as the only organization capable of administering the program - an assertion disputed by the head of the public service union...."

The smell of corruption and a stinky fish rotting from the head down begins to grow (which rhymes with quid pro quo) And if so I predict the Libs will have to ditch Trudeau...

 

jerrym

There is growing evidence that the We charity was already in financial crisis when the Covid-19 crisis hit leading to layoff of much of its workforce. Since we now know that We approached the Trudeau Liberal government with the $900 million 'volunteer', it increasingly looks like the $43 million We would earn as administrators for the project was a corporate rescue mission rather than a case of We being the only organization capable of carrying out the project. 

There are questions about why the for profit sister organization was transferring debt to the charity, which is highly unusual to say the least.

The board of directors of We resigned just weeks before getting the government contract and its failure to meet bank payment obligations raise major questions about a lack of diligence by the Trudeau Liberals in checking out whether We was a solid organization. 

The idea that WE Charity was uniquely capable of executing the government’s $912m student volunteer program is challenged by an analysis of their audited financial statements by Charity Intelligence (CI), an independent charity watchdog group that helps donors “give intelligently and have impact with their generosity.” 

CI’s legitimacy as a neutral authority on the charitable sector was recognized by none other than WE Charity itself, who previously used its CI rating to challenge Canadaland’s investigation. ...

When the pandemic began, WE Charity promptly laid off the majority of its workforce. Media reportsassumed that this was a direct result of COVID-19, with its obvious impacts on donations and live events. 

But in an interview with Canadaland, CI’s Managing Director Kate Bahen shares information from WE’s own audited financial statements that tells a different story – one of an organization that appeared to already be in crisis and making strange financial transactions when COVID hit, to anyone who bothered to look. ...

You could see the real estate holdings right there on the balance sheet. You could see the properties. This wasn’t a charity that had a lot of cash…It was investing heavily in real estate. The concern was also the leverage. 

When you build a hospice, when you build a homeless shelter, you will go into debt very often and you will have a long term mortgage with regularly scheduled payments. But all of WE Charity’s debt was short-term, revolving, demand loans, at the beck and call of the banks. But it was the amount of debt on these properties. And it was always changing. So we always looked at the debt levels. 

And then in 2018, the auditor flagged for the first time that WE Charity was in breach of its bank covenants. That is a massive, massive red flag. I have never seen that on any other charity in its audited financial statements. ...

Some people live a certain lifestyle and you only ever see one side of the balance sheet. You don’t see how much debt that person has.  WE Charity had the big offices, had the Global Learning Center, had all the assets, properties on Queen Street, but these were all backed — its lending practices were getting close to the max. Kind of like your credit card. You know, if you’ve got a credit card limit of ten thousand dollars, these guys were always at nine thousand five hundred. It was always pushing, pushing the limits. 

So it was you know, [they] have to go to the bank every year and renegotiate this loan. God forbid the bank says ‘no’ this year. It’s kind of like a high wire act. It just isn’t seen in charities. So WE is different on so many fronts. ...

The Toronto SUN’s Brian Lilley reported that WE quickly acquired $38.7m in Toronto real estate. How much money were they spending each year on their actual charitable works instead of on their headquarters and things like that?

K: That’s not disclosed. So I don’t see that. Let’s say that they bought a building on Queen Street for three million dollars to help children in Ethiopia, and they declare that the property is for that overseas work. Well, we are analysts, not auditors. ...

So (the for-profit company) ME to WE is related to WE Charity by the two founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger. What ME to WE was giving to WE Charity and what WE Charity was paying ME to WE is a related [party] transaction and it needs to be reported. There’s a professional obligation by the auditors to report those. 

It wasn’t just ME to WE, it’s very convoluted between holding companies and subsidiaries. It just didn’t make any sense. In 2016, there was the WE 365 app and teachers were told that if you get kids to download this app, for every download a child will get vaccinations. But the app didn’t work and it was glitchy. ...

But, you know, it was sold to WE Charity [by WE 365] for one dollar and all the debts incurred in creating this app that doesn’t exist anymore [now belonged to WE Charity], which is just bizarre. ...

Let’s focus on the $4.9m of debt that WE Charity had to pay the banks in May 2020. And it’s got another $4.3m due at the end of October. So let’s focus on the big numbers. ...

And that’s what I’ve been sort of jumping up and down on the government’s due diligence. Before you give them an agreement to distribute $912m dollars, look at the board of directors. 

Did WE Charity inform the government that its board had resigned or was replaced just weeks before, and that there was a gap in governance and oversight at the charity?

And if you read the audited financial statements, there it is in black and white, WE Charity is in breach of its bank covenants. Oh and by the way — it has no board. 

Everything you’ve said so far might describe an organization that had a folly with an app that didn’t work out, that maybe got overambitious with its spending on properties. But that doesn’t really explain the other side of this, which is that money was flowing from charity to private company, in the opposite direction that it was supposed to. 

You have been public that in 2019,  the same year that found them in breach [with the bank], that same year when they needed money, seven percent of all WE Charity’s revenue flowed to their privately held company.

K: That had grown. Before, it was one percent, two percent. What you see is them ramp up in fiscal 2018 when eight percent of WE Charity’s total revenues are going into the private business and in 2019, seven percent. And you’re dealing with a 60 million dollar charity here, so we’re not talking chump change. ...

Some private corporations play a little hard with their charities and say, you know, ‘we want you to pay the going rate’ and all the rest of it. But it’s [typically] a few hundred thousand dollars on a six million dollar charity. It’s not like this. ...

You would think that in the year when all their debts are due, that would be the year when they need to keep that money in the charity. But instead, they’re flowing it into their private company. 

Their argument has been:  If you look at this the right way, overall, the charity comes out on top. Overall, the charity is benefiting from this relationship. Is that true?

K: The level of disclosure in their audited financial statements does not allow me to verify that claim. 

So when the WE Charity pays the Kielburgers’ private company, they pay in cash.  But when their private company pays the charity, it’s a mixture of money, time and other benefits — and we don’t know the mix. ...

 

KRP have audited the books of WE Charity since these teenagers from Thornhill began over 25 years ago. It specializes in tax and small businesses. I believe WE Charity is the only charity it audits.

J: Well, that is weird.

K: It’s unsettling. 

If a charity was to take the strategic decision to radically replace its entire governance structure, that needs to be signaled to donors and corporate sponsors well ahead. That needs to be posted on a web site. ...

So you have an unprecedented turnover in governance that was not signalled. When you have a scandal or a crisis at an organization, it’s the chairman that steps up and testifies in front of Congress. It’s the board chair who steps up and takes the mike. And now we go into a crisis with a rookie slate of directors.  ...

The new board of directors, as I understand them, have long relationships with the Kielburgers. The new chair of the board, Greg Rogers, was Marc Kielburger’s high school teacher.

K: It’s a mismatch. ...

Did something happen for this sudden turnover in the board? When I look at all of these things together — not only do they have all this debt that’s coming due. At the same time, they’re flowing money out of the charity, into their private company. And then the board leaves. Do those all seem to you like discrete and unrelated events?

https://www.canadalandshow.com/we-charity-was-in-financial-trouble-befor...

lagatta4

Misfit, that was one of the reasons I supported Niki Ashton as leader; she would obviously know far more about how people on the Prairies could be won over again. Certainly not because Jagmeet is from a racialised community (though I admit that his turban, not his brown skin, is an obstacle here in Québec, where there is often an epidermic reaction to "religious signs", whatever the faith). But certainly Jagmeet is right to call out racism, and non-racialised NDP leaders must continue to do so as well.

Yes, certain Liberals and hardcore Liberal supporters are attacking NDP and other left supporters as unwitting allies of the Cons, to which I'll just answer WTF; I've been on the left for almost 50 years (from very young teens).

NDPP

WE Scandal Has the Potential to Lead to Humpty-Dumpty's Fall

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-ivison-we-scandal-has-the-potentia...

"...This is the crux of the scandal if there is one. Did the Trudeau government throw WE a lifeline by concocting the broad parameters of a program that only WE could deliver? The answer to that question will likely be found in internal emails between political staff in the offices of Chagger, Morneau and Trudeau in the days before the Prime Minister made his announcement on April 22. It absolutely will not be found in the House of Commons.'

The only moment of possible revelation was the response by the prime minister to a provocative taunt by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, that the volunteer grants program was more about helping 'wealthy friends' than helping students. 'It's a shame to see such cynicism from the NDP,' said Trudeau. If it is revealed that Trudeau did help out his wealthy friends, his eggs will be well and truly scrambled."

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Thanks for that excerpt, Jerry.

Jesse Brown of the Canadaland website and podcast has done an amazing job of uncovering the convoluted machinations of the Kielburgers charity and social enterprise operations. Between the PMO, PCO, Cabinet and the Public Civil Service decision-makers, not ONE of them raised a massive red flag on this concept?

And Singh is right, the whole concept is based on a principle of priviledge. The only young people who can afford to undertake unpaid internship or delayed bonuses on volunteer work are those who have parents wealthy enough to cover their expenses.

The money would have been better spent as a grant towards covering tuition cost with no obligations to the students who signed up for it.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Lagatta,

what I meant by Jagmeet, and Jack as well, dismissing Saskatchewan is that they like to target where the dense urban populations are.  Jack Layton was extremely bad at doing this. He understood Toronto well and that is who he spoke to exclusively during his campaigning.

For instance, he would go to Neefoundland and be photo oped with a raincoat on a fishing trawler and would speak about urban smog. He would campaign in rural Saskatchewan and be photo oped wearing a cowboy hat and jeans while standing in front of a barn and talk about urban transit.

The NDP in all elections had fewer funds to work with and they targeted their messages more to central Canada mainly more than the other two parties who could afford to diversify their messages more.

i wouldn't be surprised if he wrote the province off because of our racism but I was speaking more to him targeting his message to where it mattered most and that was on select areas of Canada which did not include Saskatchewan unfortunately.

kropotkin1951

I agree that Layton and his team acted pretty much as you described. The sad part about it was they never made the Ontario breakthrough that they were trying for. On Bill Siksay's campaigns we had boxes of Jack Layton signs  and pictures in the back corner beside the central office campaign literature. We would have lost the campaigns running on it. The central office also ran the campaign like Jack had coattails, which he didn't. The plucky fighter with a cane who dared to say he could be PM won Quebec when its voters were tired of their previous choices.

I agree with Lagatta that Jagmeet was spot on talking about the white boy privilege. Trudeau is an ass grabbing, black face wearing asshole and the poster boy for upper class entitlement. This scandal reads like a story line from Veronica Mars.

I am very, very worried that soon we will have a female, fascist PM.

NDPP

Finance Minister Bill Morneau Cut Cheque For $41,000 in Upaid Travel Expenses to WE

https://twitter.com/CBCTheNational/status/1286020690223734784

"Morneau tells MPs on finance committee he made mistake by not repaying expenses paid by WE. 'I expressed and always had intended to pay the full cost of these trips, and it was my responsibility to make sure that was done,' Morneau told MPs on the committee. 'Not doing so, even unknowingly, is not appropriate. I want to apologize for this error on my part.' Morneau also said his family has made two donations totalling $100,000 to the WE Charity...'

Nice charitable deduction too.

kropotkin1951

This looks like a foundation that the Clinton's or Gate's would set up. I wonder if they have the same legal advisors because it seems they run in the same circles.

jerrym

Karl Nerenberg points out how: the blurring of the line between non-profit charities and for-profit enterprises has been involved in two of the three ethical problems Trudeau has faced that have been referred to the ethics commissioner; its focus on entreprenurialism attracts the wealthy and powerful donor class that is often also tied to the Liberal party;  how its cheerleading rather than critical examination approach does not leave any bad taste or bitter feelings in the elites' mouths. 

Two of the three times Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gotten into trouble for ethical lapses were because of his relationships with supposedly not-for-profit NGOs (non-governmental organizations). 

In both cases, the NGOs have significant financial resources. More important, both NGOs blur the line between doing good for humanity and making a profit for themselves.

The Aga Khan empire includes for-profit businesses, a not-for-profit development agency, a centre for pluralism, and an organized religious denomination. It is vast, wealthy, and global in its reach. 

The Aga Khan's development arm does business with many governments, including Canada's. Because of that relationship, the parliamentary ethics commissioner rapped the prime minister's knuckles for a 2016-2017 winter vacation he, his family, and close friend, Liberal MP Seamus O'Regan, took at the Aga Khan's luxurious quarters on a private island in the Bahamas. ...

WE owns significant real estate, valued at nearly $40 million, which allows it to borrow heavily. For the most recent reported period, the organization was in a deficit position, to the tune of somewhat over $2 million. This put it in breach of what Charity Intelligence calls the "financial covenants" on its bank debt. But because the loans were secured against WE's properties, its bank waived the restrictive conditions. ...

Given WE's record of running deficits for some years, Charity Intelligence is not impressed with the organization's overall management of funds. ...

In the developing world the organization works with local partners on education, water, health, and food security. In that regard, WE's focus does not differ from many other less-favoured and less flashy NGOs.  It is WE's final area of focus -- entrepreneurialism -- that sets it apart. The organization's emphasis on promoting private enterprise and the profit motive as valid goals for development work is what most likely endears it to so many well-heeled donors. Some donors would likely consider other, more grassroots NGOs to be too anti-corporate for their taste. ...

In Canada, as opposed to the developing world, WE's activities are focused to a surprising degree on cheerleading and mass rallies. That emphasis puts it far out of step with the hundreds of low-profile Canadian NGOs, which focus on tangible work at the community level. It is the preoccupation with rallies and other large public events that brought people such as the prime minister's mother, Margaret Trudeau, into WE's orbit. When your goal is to attract attention to yourself it is helpful to have celebrities on the stage. And when you want famous people to help you out, sometimes you have to pay them. ...

What really bugs Charity Intelligence is the way WE deliberately blurs the lines between its for-profit business and its charitable activities. ... 

Charitable Intelligence believes the intertwined structures of the charity, WE, and the business, ME to WE, create what it calls "donor confusion." Officially, the two distinct organizations are referred to, collectively, as "WE," or "WE organization" or "WE movement." There is often little distinction made between the for-profit business and the not-for-profit to which people donate money. ...

On an operational level, WE Charity, buys stuff, such as promotional goods and travel services, from ME to WE the business, which then turns around and makes charitable contributions back to WE. It is a classic story of the left hand washing the right. In an interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Charity Intelligence's managing director Kate Bahen explained that the business ME to WE does not have any disclosure requirements. We do know, she said, that since it was founded, ME to WE says it has donated $20 million to WE. At the same time, however, over the past 10 years the WE charity has paid the business $11 million.

https://rabble.ca/news/2020/07/wes-mixing-profit-charity-should-have-rai...

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