Trudeau to testify on WE and student-volunteer program

31 Juillet, 2020, 01:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Scheer said his MPs on the committee plan to hold Trudeau to account for his role in awarding a now-cancelled student contract to the WE Charity.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared before the Finance Committee for 90 minutes on Thursday, providing testimony on the ongoing WE Charity scandal.

Mr. Trudeau's chief-of-staff, Ms. Telford, is also set to testify before the finance committee on Thursday about the controversy.

On Wednesday evening, opposition MPs on the finance committee had voted to ask Trudeau to appear for at least three hours and Telford for at least two.

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Since 2016, the WE charity said Margaret Trudeau has been paid about $312,000 in speaking fees and the prime minister's brother, Alexandre Trudeau, received about $40,000.

In the month that has passed since the program was put on ice, revelation after revelation has kept the scandal alive.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he hopes to learn from Trudeau what due diligence was done on the WE organization before he declared in late June that WE was the only organization capable of administering the Canada Student Service Grant.

Both Trudeau and Morneau were at the cabinet table and did not recuse themselves when the student grant program was being discussed.

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"Is he going to acknowledge that he should have recused himself?"

The Prime Minister's testimony marks a central moment in a political drama that has plagued his government in recent weeks and resulted in sliding poll numbers for the Liberals.

"The evidence has suggested it's beyond just the prime minister..."

"We want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday.

And if they don't feel like they've gotten the full disclosure from Trudeau today, the Conservatives have already threatened to call him back in the months ahead.

Trudeau did concede, though, that his family's connection with the charity "could lead some people to wonder" if there was a conflict of interests.

On Wednesday, Dion sent letters to Conservative and NDP MPs saying he is widening his investigations into trips Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his family participated in that were sponsored by the WE organization.

The conflict of interest rules prohibit federal public office holders or members of their family from accepting "any gift or other advantage, including from a trust, that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the public office holder in the exercise of an official power, duty or function".

On Tuesday, the Kielburger brothers, the founders of the charity, provided testimony that raised red flags regarding the charity's conduct, specifically surrounding the payments and reimbursements made to the prime minister's mother, who was paid only after her son Justin won the 2015 election.

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