Canada Ethics Committee Says No New Government Contribution To WE Charity Before Audit
The Canadian government should not provide any further funding to WE Charity, which is at the heart of the scandal that has plagued the Trudeau government for nearly a year, until the organization is audited, the parliamentary ethics committee said on Thursday
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th June, 2021) The Canadian government should not provide any further funding to WE Charity, which is at the heart of the scandal that has plagued the Trudeau government for nearly a year, until the organization is audited, the parliamentary ethics committee said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as current and former members of his cabinet incurred heavy criticism last summer after media revealed close ties between the officials' families and the WE Charity, in light of a government decision to award the charity a $670-million sole-source contract to administer a government-sponsored student volunteer program.
"The Government of Canada refrain from further contracts or contribution agreements with the WE group until an independent audit or a Canada Revenue Agency forensic audit can be undertaken to determine exactly how the finances flow between their charitable operations and their multitude of side companies and real estate holdings," was one of the recommendations included in the report.
The report titled, "Questions of Conflict of Interest and Lobbying in Relation to Pandemic Spending" contained 22 other recommendations, including cabinet members screening for conflicts of interest before awarding government contracts and improved record-keeping of meetings with lobbyists.
The investigation by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics was triggered by allegations of the Trudeau government exploiting the pandemic to renumerate parties considered to be close to the Liberal Party of Canada.
Aside from the WE scandal, as the affairs has come to be known, parliamentarians probed Canada's former ambassador to United States David MacNaughton's lobbying of top officials on behalf of Palantir Technologies and the government's decision to award a ventilator contract to a company head by a former Liberal MP.
Committee members from Canada's opposition parties - Conservatives, New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois - welcomed the report, while the Liberal Vice-Chair, Brenda Shanahan, slammed the probe as a "politically motivated witch-hunt."
Trudeau, whose family was paid $342,955.72 in speaking and expense fees for their participation in over 42 WE Charity events, was the subject of an ethics investigation regarding the affair. However, the Prime Minister was cleared of wrongdoing by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion last month.
Despite Trudeau walking away from the investigation legally unscathed, his former finance minister, Bill Morneau, was found guilty of contravening three sections of the Conflict of Interest Act, including making a decision that would further his private interests and giving preferential treatment to WE Charity.