Trudeau apologizes for role in We Charity scandal but won't resign

Elias Hubbard
July 13, 2020

Justin Trudeau has apologized for taking part in a cabinet decision to use a charity he and his family have worked with to administer a C$900m (US$663m) student grant program.

Trudeau said he should have done so given his immediate family's relationship and financial ties to the WE organization.

Trudeau said the public service first recommended WE as the best pick for the contract, given its nationwide reach and its experience connecting students with volunteer opportunities. "I know people have concerns about it, I get that".

And he says he's particularly sorry that the delay in the program caused by WE's eventual decision to withdraw will harm students looking for ways to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. "And I'm sincerely sorry", he told a news conference. I also deeply regret the fact that I have brought my mother into this situation in a way that you know is really unfair to her. And I'm very sorry about that.

Controversy over WE Charity's contract has dominated debate on Parliament Hill for weeks.

Trudeau said he still should have known that his involvement in talks to award the contract would be problematic, given how closely associated his family is with the organization.

WE Charity disclosed last week that between 2016-2020 it paid honoraria to Trudeau's mother, Margaret, amounting to C$250,000 for speaking at some 28 events, while his brother Alexandre received about C$32,000.

"New Democrats believe in getting to the bottom of this and the more answers we get (including from Trudeau and Morneau) the quicker we can get those answers for the Canadian public", he said in a statement.

The federal ethics watchdog is investigating whether the prime minister violated conflict-of-interest rules in the matter.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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