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

176 posts / 0 new
Last post
Pondering

We have an ethics commissioner investigating WE. Are the opposition parties saying that they don't trust the ethics commissioner? 

Creating the committee was a political campaign move to make it appear as though the Liberals were resisting investigation. 

Singh supporting the government on behalf of Canadians was a crock. Singh supported the government because the NDP isn't ready for another election and the Liberals look to gain seats, maybe a majority.

The NDP is playing politics too. They should have said they wanted to wait for the ethic commissioners findings or called for an election. 

Instead they are saying the government does not have the confidence of the NDP but they will support a corrupt party to save Canadians the trouble of voting in a pandemic, which the election commission has said they can handle no problem.

The NDP would have voted against Trudeau in a minute if they thought another election would deliver more seats to the NDP.

That is what makes voters cynical. We know full well that the primary goal of all the political parties is power. If the NDP thinks they have to go all the way to conservative to win that is what they would do. That space is fully occupied by the actual Conservatives and Liberals and some say the Greens. 

NDPP

Politricks? Most definitely, what else? However I doubt very much most Canadians wanted this government to fall. Especially as some rather important relief measures would have fallen/frozen in the process. And likely NDP numbers too.  Had there been an election call it might have returned an even stronger Liberal government, perhaps a majority. So on bourgeois balance it probably worked out for the best.

Pondering

Why isn't the NDP pushing for a better ethics commissioner if they don't think the current one is effective or doesn't have enough power? 

Off the top of my head the scandal is that Trudeau's mother and brother made thousands of dollars in speaker's fees for speeches done for WE. WE was granted the contract without open bidding. Politicians, the wealthy and corporations are wheeling and dealing? Pass the smelling salts. 

The scandal completely ignores the root issue which is who decided to administer the program through private contractors rather than through the civil servants already experienced in running summer job programs for youth? 

I guess it doesn't matter because the goal is make political points not do something to benefit Canadians. Voters know that it is all BS games the political parties play with each other. We don't get any say in what happens between elections.

In the last week, the last day even, voters get all the information they need to make a decision. There is no need to get bogged down with history to figure out that O'Toole is a tool, Trudeau is a tyoical rich boy, and the NDP is weak and can't win under Singh. All Trudeau has to do to win is wear pants and stand up. 

Just like in the throne speech Trudeau will offer Canadians a big fat nothing but more of the same. The Conservatives will wax indignation over the deficit along with loud accusations of corruption. Singh will say the social programs aren't good enouth. Canadians will choose mama bear not papa bear or baby bear. 

So you tell me. Why isn't the ethics commissioner facing questions concerning their failure?

I am remined of the saying "played a fiddel while Rome burned". Trudeau can be crooked to the core and still get elected. 

 

NDPP

I agree. More political theatre of the absurd complete with fiddle-diddle music, in concert with the well practiced Canucklhead facility for the willing suspension of disbelief while pretending it's democracy. For as long as there's still a few slops in our troughs, even if there's no longer much in many.  Just pretend more. Pretend better. We can do it.

jerrym

People still want answers about exactly what happened during the We scandal, not an election where the Liberals avoid answering any questions about what happened. 

Why is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continually threatening Canadians with a general election in the middle of a global pandemic?

I think it is safe to say the majority of Canadians do not want to participate in a general election during the COVID-19 crisis.

However, Canadians do want to know the details behind the WE Charity scandal and the prime minister’s involvement in it, especially when WE Charity pulled its operations from Canada after questions were raised. ...

Again, most Canadians don’t want an election, they want answers to questions around the WE Charity scandal.

Can we not get answers to those questions without being threatened with a pandemic election?

https://globalnews.ca/news/7409090/we-charity-scandal-election/

Pondering

By making it all about Trudeau personally they reveal that this isn't about good government. The Conservatives want to maintain the power to do the same. Singh is just desperate to seem relevant and in so doing makes himself irrelevant. 

The NDP should be attacking the way government is run and proposing solutions. They should be talking about the way power has been pooling in the PMO's office. They should be talking about the side-lining of our representatives and even of ministers. 

I vaguely recall Harper making civil servants sign an oath of loyalty to the government rather than to the people of Canada. 

It seems the NDP tradition of focusing on the Liberals and leaving the Conservatives alone remains in place under Singh. 

NDPP

MP Joins Former Donor in Calling for RCMP Investigation into WE Charity Following Testimony (and vid)

"A former WE Charity donor is calling on the RCMP and the US Internal Revenue Service to investigate the charity's finances after learning a Kenyan school he was told he funded bore a plaque with the name of another donor..."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/rcmp-investigation-we-charity-1.5931253

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

No surprise there. These guys have had the stink of snake oil on them since we first learned of their revolting business/charity. BTW, I hope that's a typo, and it's a plaque, not a plague that was visited upon the Kenyans. ;^)

NDPP

WE Freudian slipped. Thanks, corrected.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It a good one. One wonders how many times that plaque was sold.

NDPP

Kielburger brothers decline request to testify before 'partisan' Commons committee

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2021/03/03/kielburger-brothers-decline...

"WE Charity co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger are declining requests to testify before two House of Commons committees. NDP MP Charlie Angus said Wednesday that he will confer with his fellow committee members about summoning the Kielburgers to testify. Angus noted that the committee has already had to summon two other executives in the WE organization to compel them to testify. A summons from a committee has legal force..."

cco

It's wonderful to have preemptively bribed your way out of prosecution, isn't it? I suppose they'll get a deferred prosecution agreement for contempt of parliament.

NDPP

Multiple WE Charity donors raised money for same borehole well in Kenya village

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/we-charity-save-the-children-donations-bo...

"A former WE employee who liased with outside fundraising groups told The Fifth Estate that they frequently heard complaints about the charity's fundraising tactics. Last week, a former WE Charity donor and Charlie Angus, an NDP MP, called for the RCMP to investigate..."

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Like I said above, all these groups and individuals were sold the same plaque. What a scam. It's weird but I don't think scamming was top of mind when things got started but somehow greed stepped in and took over.

jerrym

Recognizing the avalanche of negative publicity they were receiving the Keilberger brothers have shifted from refusing to attend the ethics committee hearing on We to attending with lawyers. I suspect that what we will get is "On the advice of my lawyer I regret that I cannot answer that question." Even the Liberals supported the demand for their appearance because this part of the ethics committee work does not directly deal with questions about the Liberals involvement in the We scandal. 

After initially declining a committee appearance before the House of Commons ethics committee, WE Charity founders Craig and Marc Kielburger have proposed to attend with the presence of their legal representative.

In a letter to the clerk of the committee, obtained by CTV News, counsel William McDowell cites committee member and NDP MP Charlie Angus’ call for the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to investigate the charity’s financial dealings, as the cause for requiring legal presence at a future meeting.

"We wrote to you on March 3rd to raise the unfairness facing our clients should they appear before the committee and be questioned concerning the very matters which Mr. Angus has placed in the hands of the RCMP. We continue to have those concerns; indeed, a lawyer would be negligent simply to allow his clients to appear before the committee in these circumstances," he writes. ...

It comes after the committee voted unanimously Monday to summon the Kielburgers to testify in their ongoing study into "Questions of conflict of interest and lobbying in relation to pandemic spending." ...

Angus requested the RCMP and CRA investigations after a former donor, U.S. television journalist Reed Cowan, alleged that the plaque on a school he had funded in Kenya through the charity had been replaced with a plaque in the name of another donor.

WE said the incident was an unfortunate mistake; Angus called it proof of a "pattern of duplicitous relations with donors."

Cowan made the allegations during testimony in February to the ethics committee, which in turn had invited the Kielburger brothers to testify on Monday.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/kielburger-brothers-propose-committee-te...

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Why should the committee even be bargaining with these little shits? It should just be "show up or be arrested". That's surely how they would treat any random Canadian without wealth and/or political influence.

NDPP

Kielburgers accuse MPs of holding political trial during testy committee hearing

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/we-charity-ethics-committee-1.5948050

",,,[NDP MP Charlie] Angus grilled the Kielburgers on why they never registered with the lobbying commissioner. The Kielburgers - who said they have not been contacted by the RCMP or CRA - indicated they were technically volunteers with WE Charity and that volunteers cannot register with the commissioner. 'Craig, we're no dummies here,' Angus replied. 'You guys run this organization. You're a volunteer that has a chief of staff who's paid for by the charity. That's ridiculous.'

Conservative MP Pierre Polievre, meanwhile, demanded a tally of how much WE had paid members of the Trudeau family for appearing at different events, as well as a total for expenses covered for these members. Craig Kielburger said it was about $425,000. Poilievre also pressed Craig Kielburger on why he sent an email to one of Trudeau's senior advisers, Ben Chin, in which the younger Kielburger brother appears to thank Chin for having helped shape the student-grant program. Craig said Chin had no direct involvement.

'You're in a lot of trouble here, my friend,' Poilievre responded. 'You're under oath. Perjury is a crime.' The brothers were also asked about allegations WE raised money by asking multiple donors to contribute to the same project..."

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

$425k is not chump change. That could buy tons of children's breakfasts in north end Winnipeg as well as contribute to many other after school programs.

Pondering

I am very offended by public personages who take payment for speaking on their behalf. Anyone in the Trudeau family should be donating their time if they believe in the cause enough to support it.

jerrym

The committee investigating the We scandal today released a report that blasts the Liberal government over the scandal that afforded the Kielburger brothers an "extraordinary level of insider access" with no other group given an opportunity to bid on the project. The report contained 23 recommendations to deal with this and similar ethics problems. 

The federal government should implement stronger conflict of interest rules, a House of Commons committee said Thursday in a report that lambasts the Liberals’ handling of the WE Charity contract and resulting scandal.

The report said it was “deeply concerning” that the co-founder of WE was able to lobby the finance minister directly, that it was “unacceptable” for the government to push ahead with the project without due diligence, and called the decision to sign a contract with a shell company “deeply troubling.”

The ethics committee found “there was an extraordinary level of insider access afforded” to the Kielburger brothers, who founded the Toronto-based WE Charity, said NDP MP Charlie Angus, a member of the committee. “There was no other group who were given the opportunity to bid” on the government project. We had the federal government ready to sign a deal that was between a half a billion and $912 million with this group, with no due diligence to what they had set up as a shell company,” Angus said. ...

The $543.5-million sole-sourced contract the Liberal government granted to WE Charity to administer a student volunteer grant program last year never got off the ground after it was publicly revealed that both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then finance minister Bill Morneau had links to the charity. Trudeau’s mother and brother had been paid to speak at some WE events over the years and his wife also made several appearances.

Morneau’s daughter worked for WE and he had made generous donations to it. Trudeau and Morneau apologized for not recusing themselves from the decision. WE Charity quickly withdrew from the program, which was cancelled.

Investigations by the ethics commissioner cleared Trudeau but said Morneau did breach conflict of interest rules.

The committee couldn’t find any reports that “actually tested the credibility of the claims made by the WE Charity,” it said, adding that WE had “never undertaken a project close to this magnitude and it remains unclear whether they had the means to ensure that students across the country could be put to work with credible results.”

The report concluded that it was “unacceptable” that the government pushed ahead with the project based on WE’s own claims.

It also blasted the government for signing a deal worth hundreds of millions with a shell company set up by WE Charity, which “had the potential to put a huge investment of taxpayers’ funds at risk.”

The committee also said the government shouldn’t sign any more contracts or deals with WE Charity until an independent or Canada Revenue Agency audit is conducted. Despite 10 months of study, the committee wasn’t able to “get a clear picture of the financial structure of the WE group,” including how money moves between the organization’s charitable and for-profit operations.

Angus said the Liberal government put up “incredible levels of interference” in the committee’s work, including staging numerous filibusters, refusing to allow witnesses to testify and proroguing Parliament. It took a formal summons by the committee for the Kielburgers to testify.

Conservative MP and committee chair Chris Warkentin said the committee faced “many challenges related to the appearance of witnesses and the procurement of documents.” He said in some cases the answers or documents it received were incomplete, and that “the committee believes that there are still many questions that remain unanswered.”

The committee also took issue with Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Minister Bardish Chagger for failing to disclose an April 2020 meeting with Craig Kielburger, and later not telling the committee about aspects of that meeting. “Ms. Chagger failed in her obligation to be accurate with a committee and potentially impeded our work,” the report said, adding that Chagger not having notes of that meeting was “problematic.”

The report said there should be a rule in place forcing senior public office holders to “be accompanied by at least one staff during any meeting with lobbyists for the purpose of taking notes.”

The report also called for changes to the Lobbying Act, including to strengthen rules about who has to register to lobby and to give the lobbying commissioner more power to investigate and punish entities that violate the rules. It noted that prior to August 2020, WE Charity was negotiating with government departments but not registered to lobby.

“A new and comprehensive anti-corruption law must be passed to return accountability to Ottawa,” Conservative MP Michael Barrett said, noting the Conflict of Interest Act should be reviewed and ethics and lobbying laws strengthened.

“The report shines the light on Liberal corruption, and it shows a clear path for us to clean up the mess and end the abuses by insiders,” he said.

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/house-of-commons-ethics-committee...

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Added bonus, it also shed a light on how bogus and useless the WE Charity were/are (still operating in the US and possibly the UK).

Pondering

Does anyone think this will make any significant difference or are we juggling with small potatoes? 

jerrym

It wasn't small potatoes to those students who never get a summer job because of the scandal. My youngest son who applied for the program was very unimpressed, to understate it greatly, by the way the Liberals tried to set up the program with their We friends, the Kielburger brothers. I doubt it will affect the next election except in the sense that it reconfirms the pattern of scandal, broken promises and poor decisionmaking that were involved in the Blackface scandal, abandoning electoral reform, declaring a climate emergency one day and literally buying Trans Mountain the next day, the blocking of three court cases involving compensation for indigenous youth being grossly underfunded in federal child care and residential schools, the Aga Khan scandal, the trip to India, the SNC Lavalin scandal, etcetera that have kept the Liberals from being much higher in the polls as the shine on the Trudeau veneer of the 2015 election has worn off. 

Pondering

We are facing ever increasing income inequality and catastrophic climate change. A summer program is small potatoes. The veneer was off Trudeau before the last election.  He is not at all afraid of O'Toole. His only competition is Singh and the NDP and it is not much. Even if the NDP by some miracle won they will not act radically enough to save us. 

jerrym

If you read what I said you would notice that I said I doubt it would affect the next election.... The Liberals should be way ahead in the polls with the Covid vaccination rate now ahead of virtually everyone, including Israel for first doses, but are still in the mid-30s, suggesting that a lot of people are not that enthralled with them. They will likely win, but governments often lose support over what you and I consider small issues but have a big affect on them personally and secondly a lot of people hold their noses and vote for a party in power because they are not happy about what they have done but give them a slight edge over the opposition. Then the pundits wonder why they get drubbed in a following election, mistaking a vote for rock solid support, when much of the population has had more than enough by the next election.

They also face a bigger problem in the long run. I suspect that promising major climate change reform while buying Trans Mountain whose total cost including construction is now estimated at $18 billion and for which four insurance companies have already dropped out of insuring both because of the climate change risks and the growing economic threats they face from an environmentalist backlash, supporting Keystone until Biden ended it, doubling Line 3 from Alberta to Manitoba and on to the US where it is facing growing indigenous and environmentalist protests, supporting continuing Line 5 through Michigan against local opposition, pushing the Energy East pipeline until it threatened its Quebec MPs winning their ridings, proposing building another pipeline to run from Ontario to the Saguenay for export to Europe and the rest of the world until the finances collapsed, allowing exploration wells that have already tested positive twice for a new oilfield off the Newfoundland coast, providing the money to finish a oil processing plant that the company saw as unviable in Newfoundland and providing another $300 million for further exploration off Newfoundland, and being in the process of redefining greenhouse gas emissions to make them appear lower than they actually are, will put the Liberals in increasing trouble as they continue to promise dealing with climate change and increasing fossil fuel production at the same time. As climate change hits harder every year this approach will be increasingly difficult to maintain. They have refused to have any emissions targets before 2030, despite environmentalists requesting ones for 2025 at the latest, because the Liberals think they can keep riding the two horses of climate change environmentalists and increasing fossil fuel production throughout the decade. The growing chasm between these two horses is likely to result in them falling to the ground in the election after the next one. 

Pages