OTTAWA-The prime minister Justin Trudeau has hammered that WE Charity has not enjoyed preferential treatment in order to obtain the management of the grants program volunteer student, Thursday, and, even if the organization has links with several members of his family.
“I was not in a situation of conflict of interest and I am not in a situation of conflict of interest. I’m excused because of the perception, the relationship with my family,” he pleaded during his historic testimony before the standing finance Committee examining the controversy over the past one month.
Fighting for his testimony an hour and a half, the barrage of questions from mps of the opposition, Mr. Trudeau insisted he had “absolutely nothing to influence” the decision to assign to WE Charity, without tender, the administration of the scholarship program, initially amounted to 912 million $.
He argued that he had, on the contrary, requested additional verifications within his government since he knew that questions would be raised to the ethical level.
“Rather than encouraging all along [with the proposal for WE Charity], I actually slowed down and pushed to try to ensure that everything was done the right way”, he argued, stating that he had not been paid when participating in events of the organization.
The prime minister also added that he knew that his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, was reimbursed for travel expenses by WE Charity, but was assured that this type of expenditure covered had the seal of approval of the ethics commissioner.
Mr. Trudeau has also said that he knew that his brother and his mother had worked with WE Charity, but that he was not aware of the extent of their work or the content of any payments received.
The liberal leader, who has specified not to be “friend” with the brothers Kielburger, co-founders of the organization, has said that he did not know “specifically” that his minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, had traveled with WE Charity. The latter was recently revealed to have paid out approximately $ 41,000 in travel expenses, which had first been dealt with by WE Charity.
- Listen to the interview with Éric Montigny, professor of political science at the Université Laval where he speaks of the saga of We Charity, and the appearance of Justin Trudeau, at QUB Radio:
Appearing immediately after, the chief of cabinet of Mr. Trudeau, Katie Telford, admitted that Ottawa could have done more to avoid any “appearance of favoritism” to the organization.
The testimony of Justin Trudeau was historic as the prime ministers who have testified before parliamentary committees in Canada can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Everything indicates that the last time a prime minister in trouble ” had to be explained back to 1932, when Richard Bedford Bennett had to testify before a special committee after he was accused, among other things, having paid out of public funds the honeymoon trip from her sister.
The appearance the most recent date in this kind of decorum took place in 2006, when Stephen Harper has testified before the special Committee on the reform of the Senate.
The case WE Charity broke out after Mr. Trudeau and his government had announced, at the end of June, that WE Charity would administer the grants program volunteer student. In the wake of the controversy, the organization has withdrawn.
The prime minister is referred to, in the margin of this case, by a new investigation of the commissioner of ethics and conflict of interest, Mario Dion. Conservatives and bloquistes are demanding his resignation, along with that of the minister Morneau.