On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied that the charity the government had chosen to run a large student grant program was favored, even though it had ties to its family.
An increasing scandal over the multi-million dollar program provided by WE Charity Canada has hurt Trudeau in opinion polls. His liberal party slipped a four-point lead over opposition conservatives.
The liberal-led government’s popularity has grown in Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“WE Charities did not receive any preferential treatment, not from me or anyone else,” Trudeau said in an opening statement. “The public service recommended WE Charity. I did not influence this recommendation in any way. “
“How much?”; “Only a dollar.”: MP Pierre Poilievre repeatedly asks Prime Minister Trudeau how much money his family has paid from us.
Live broadcast continues here: https://t.co/9A0P8TVYlx pic.twitter.com/bJuaSGhC3g
– CTV News (@CTVNews) July 30, 2020
This is in line with the civil service testimony of the same committee. Amid a feverish effort to push programs out of the house to help Canadians during the pandemic, the civil service recommended WE Charity as the only organization that could quickly deliver a $ 500 million ($ 372 million) Canadian dollar program.
The government previously said the program would provide students with up to $ 900 million Canadian dollars ($ 670 million).
The Prime Minister has already publicly apologized for participating in the government’s decision to opt for WE, which will manage the grant program, because it has created the impression of a conflict of interest. Caritas withdrew shortly after the program was announced.
The testimony of the Canadian Prime Minister before a parliamentary committee is very unusual. The last time this happened was in 2006, when Prime Minister Štefan Harper appeared on one of them, who spoke about the reform of the Senate.
“We could have done better,” Trudeau chief executive Katie Telford told the same committee after the prime minister said. She said an additional level of control could be added to dispel any perception of a conflict of interest.
The “Partnerships” and “Execute Files” files were removed from our headquarters on Wednesday. Not sure where they were going? Wondering if the @ JustinTrudeau booth will have any information in these boxes today? @craigkielburger can you tell us what this is about? pic.twitter.com/3N9ZRUqg9L
– Joe Warmington (@joe_warmington) July 30, 2020
Trudeau’s testimony comes after he has been investigated for a possible breach of conflict of interest. It is the third ethical probe he faced in three years.
The Canadian Commissioner for Ethics began an investigation after WE Charity announced that it had paid Trudeau’s mother and brother for the speeches.
The Prime Minister and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau regularly attended WE charity events.
Reuters news agency