Editorial: We Deserve Transparency, Mr. Trudeau
The country, particularly its taxpaying citizens, deserve full disclosure of every dealing between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the WE Charity.
We have a right to know how the WE Charity, with significant ties to the PM as well as his family and friends, was awarded the rights to administer a student volunteerism program which was to be funded with hundreds of millions of public dollars.
Yet, another week is over and we, the taxpayers of Canada, are once again left without full disclosure regarding many financial records related to the WE Charity scandal.
Unfortunately, the quest for full disclosure, particularly where money is involved, is being blocked and stalled everywhere a Liberal Party member has a friend.
It continued this week as Liberal members of the House of Commons finance committee continued to filibuster (to delay or prevent a parliamentary item from taking place) a motion that calls on the Speaker of the Commons to rule that redactions made to more than 5,000 pages of government documents on the WE Charity are a breach of the committee’s privileges.
The committee had previously ordered the documents without any redactions be released to the parliamentary clerk. The clerk would decide which information needed to be blacked out for personal privacy or cabinet confidences.
Another vote days earlier was hijacked by a non-Liberal Party MP – this time a member of the Bloc Quebecois – and it stinks of back-room dealings and poor ethics, which is hilarious because it was a federal ethics committee vote.
That vote earlier this week was supported by all parties (apparently) and would have required the release of all invoices for WE Charity speeches delivered by Mr. Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau (who also hosted a wellness podcast for the charity).
Unfortunately, there was some “confusion” and other excuses the Bloc made as to why they voted down a universally appealing (to non-Liberal party MPs) motion. You should research the details and make up your own mind as to what you think happened.
A couple of weeks ago, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was backed into a corner by the Liberals on a Conservative Party motion to create a special parliamentary committee to investigate the WE Charity scandal as well as other government controversies.
What should have been a straight-forward vote turned into a difficult decision for Mr. Singh after the Liberal Party said this motion would be a confidence matter and would seek an election if it was passed.
For the record, Mr. Singh and his NDP Party made the right decision in not plunging our nation into an unnecessary election at this time.
The fact that the Liberal Party would even threaten an election during this pandemic throws away all the good efforts they had been showing when dealing with COVID throughout this year.
Deciding to play these types of politics and not be forthcoming with all the information regarding public funds spent on and by the WE Charity is telling the nation they’re playing politics when they should be showing leadership.
Super quick notes on the scandal if you need a recap (learn more by paying attention to Canadian politics).
Members of the Trudeau family – specifically Mr. Trudeau, Mrs. Trudeau, former Mrs. Margaret Trudeau (Justin’s mother) and Mr. Alexandre Trudeau (Justin’s brother) – were either paid speakers or “had expenses reimbursed” for speaking engagements with the WE Charity. As well, former federal finance minister Bill Morneau's two daughters are or were associated with the organisation, one of them as an employee.
Both the Prime Minister and Mr. Morneau, despite having relationships with the charity, failed to recuse themselves on a vote which awarded a now-defunct $912 million deal to have WE administer a Canada Student Summer Grant program for the government.
The WE Charity eventually pulled themselves out from the detail after much scrutiny came about regarding how they were awarded the contract as well as questions about the charity’s relationship to their for-profit dealings.
Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Morneau have since apologized for not recusing themselves, but that is not enough. Decisions regarding hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars need to be transparent and “I forgot, I’m sorry” isn’t acceptable.
There are other background details you may be interested in, so just type “WE Charity Scandal” into your web browser.
Opposition MPs and citizens across our nation want to know how much money WE Charity or its affiliates paid the Trudeau family in the years leading up to WE Charity being awarded the deal. They also want to know how the original decision was made and why it was made.
The bottom line is that we deserve to know everything regarding our tax dollars; how they are spent, where they are spent, and why they are spent.
It’s time for Mr. Trudeau and the Liberal Party to realize this is not about partisan politics, this about their accountability to the tax paying citizens of Canada.
By Chris Occhiuzzi, special to HuntersBayRadio.com
When Chris isn’t writing stories for HuntersBayRadio.com, Dockside Publishing or running MuskokaUnlimited.com, you can find him volunteering his time as a coach and board member for the Huntsville Soccer Club.