Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied on Thursday that a charity selected by the government to run a major grant program had received preferential treatment, despite having ties to his family.
The escalating scandal over a multimillion-dollar program provided to WE Charity Canada has injured Trudeau in the ballot box, with his Liberal Party slipping to four points ahead of opposition Conservatives, according to a survey in Abacus Data on Thursday.
The popularity of the liberal-led government has risen amid Canada’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have not received any preferential treatment from charity, neither from me nor from anyone else,”
“How much?”, “Only the figure of the dollar.”: MP Pierre Polievre repeatedly asks Prime Minister Trudeau how much money his family paid from WE.
The live broadcast continues here: https://t.co/9A0P8TVYlx pic.twitter.com/bJuaSGhC3g
– CTV News (@CTVNews) July 30, 2020
This is in line with the testimony of the civil service before the same commission. Amid frantic efforts to push programs through the door to help Canadians during the pandemic, government officials recommended WE Charity as the only organization that could provide the $ 500 million program ($ 372 million) quickly.
Earlier, the government said the program would provide students with up to 900 million Canadian dollars (670 million dollars).
The Prime Minister has already publicly apologized for his participation in the decision of the cabinet to select WE Charity to administer the grant program, because it created a perception of conflict of interest. The charity event gave way shortly after the announcement of the program.
The testimony of a Canadian prime minister before a parliamentary committee is very unusual. The last time this happened was in 2006, when then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper came together to talk about Senate reform.
“We could have done better,” Trudeau chief Katie Telford told the same commission after the prime minister spoke. She said another layer of control could be added to dispel any perception of a conflict of interest.
The Partnerships and exec files were removed from headquarters on Wednesday. Not sure where they are headed? Wondering if any of the information in these boxes will come out today when @JustinTrudeau is on the stand? @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 was investigated for possible violations of a conflict of interest. This is the third ethic of ethics he has encountered in three years.
The Canadian Ethics Commissioner launched the investigation after WE Charity revealed that she had paid Trudeau’s mother and brother for speeches.
Both the Prime Minister and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, regularly participate in WE charity events.