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Conservatives to press Justin Trudeau on WE Charity payments during testimony: Scheer

Last Updated Jul 30, 2020 at 9:13 am PDT

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday May 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Federal Conservatives to press Trudeau on money paid to his family for WE Charity speaking events, Andrew Scheer says

Prime minister set to testify in front of House of Commons Finance Committee Thursday

Trudeau expected to answer questions about sole-source contract awarded to WE Charity despite his family's ties

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Conservatives took aim at the prime minister ahead of Justin Trudeau’s testimony in front of the House of Commons Finance Committee for his role in the WE Charity scandal.

Speaking Thursday morning in Ottawa, Conservative leader Andrew Sheer said Canada is going to be watching Trudeau’s testimony very closely.

“Canadians have a lot of questions about Justin Trudeau’s $900-million scandal, and they deserve clear answers. But if history’s any indication, they’ll be let down once again,” Scheer said. “Justin Trudeau’s already been found guilty of breaking ethics laws twice.”

In 2017, the federal ethics commissioner ruled Trudeau had broken Canada’s ethics law over paid trips to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas. Later, in 2019, the ethics commissioner found the prime minister had violated ethics laws in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

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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.

“We’re being told by members who have testified, including senior Liberal politicians, that this was the only organization that could deliver this type of service,” Scheer said. “We also know that this organization, WE, had never delivered anything like this in the past.”

Many of the Tories’ questions will revolve around the hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees paid to members of the Trudeau family, as well as related expenses, the Conservatives previously said.

WE had previously confirmed that Trudeau’s mother, Margaret Trudeau, was paid about $250,000 for 28 speaking appearances at WE-related events between 2016 and 2020 and that his brother Alexandre has been paid $32,000 for eight events.

The prime minister is set to speak for an hour in front of the Commons finance committee to answer questions about the sole-source contract awarded to the WE Charity to run a student-volunteer program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau’s testimony comes days after WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger spoke to the committee, saying the prime minister’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, has also participated in several WE Days, receiving an average of $3,618 for each event. That works out to $25,326 total.

Trudeau is being accused of breaking ethics rules by tapping WE to run the $900-million grant, even though the charity had previously paid members of his family for appearing at its events.