The hand- awarding of a contract to a non-profit organization linked to the Liberal Party is shaking the Government. This Thursday, the opposition has asked that Finance Minister Bill Morneau resign, threatening the stability of the Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Conservative Party, the main opposition party, called for Morneau’s resignation on Thursday after learning that the non-profit organization WE Charity paid the family of the finance minister more than C $ 41,000 (US $ 30,600) in travel.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper declared at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday that “it is time for the finance minister to do the only thing he can do, resign as minister. What was revealed yesterday in the committee is staggering. The seriousness what the minister admitted yesterday cannot be underestimated, “he added.
Unexpectedly, Morneau revealed the payment on Wednesday while announcing the return of the money to WE Charity. The organization, which works on developing opportunities for young people, invited the Morneau family to visit projects they have in Ecuador and Kenya and paid the costs of their trip, which is a conflict of interest.
Conflict of interest rules in Canada prevent members of the Government and other officials, or their families, from receiving gifts that can be interpreted as a form of influence on that person. Also, the gifts have to be reported the days after they were received, something Morneau did not do because the trips were made in 2017.
The revelation is the latest in the growing scandal that began when the Trudeau Government finger-awarded WE Charity, under the program to ease the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, a contract of C $ 900 million (the US $ 672 million) to offer job opportunities to young people in Canada.
WE Charity is an organization created by Craig Kielburger, a well-known activist who founded Free the Children at the age of 13 to fight forced child labour in developing countries and who has extensive contacts in Canada’s ruling Liberal Party.
But after WE Charity was awarded the contract, it emerged that Trudeau’s mother, brother, and wife have received hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate in organized events and that one of Morneau’s daughters also works for her.
Despite these direct ties, neither Trudeau nor Morneau recused themselves when the Canadian cabinet decided to grant WE Charity, without competition, the juicy contract to manage the program. This contract was cancelled when the scandal hit the front pages of Canadian newspapers.
Trudeau’s involvement has prompted Canadian Parliament’s Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to launch an investigation to determine whether the Prime Minister violated conflict of interest rules given WE Charity’s relationship with his family.
The problem for Trudeau is that it is the third investigation that the Ethics Commissioner has carried out on the Prime Minister’s actions. No other Canadian ruler has had so many investigations.
What’s worse, the initial two investigations concluded with the ruling that Trudeau violated the rules when the Prime Minister accepted a paid trip.for the Aga Khan to the private island that the leader of the Ismaili Muslims has in the Caribbean and for exerting pressure to favour SNC-Lavalin, one of the most important construction companies in the country.
The scandal may finally explode next week when Trudeau testifies before the Finance Committee of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament to explain the award of the contract to WE Charity.
Trudeau will have to convince the opposition that the whole mess has been a mistake and avoid a possible motion of censure that could topple his Government since the Liberal Party is in the minority in Parliament and only controls 156 of the 338 seats in the House. Low.