The WE Charity, which most recently entered Canada's memory as the centerpiece to Justin Trudeau's WE Charity scandal that will likely result in the prime minister's third ethics violation, released a new statement which suggested it would be winding down its operations in Canada:
We are grateful to our many skilled Board members who provided leadership, sound oversight and advice. We are grateful to our donors and partners who enabled these free programs for youth. We are grateful to the educators and students who brought alive the curriculum about causes and service campaigns. And of course, we are most grateful to all of you who supported our dream of making doing good, doable, for 25 years.
Two sources told Canadaland that WE Charity would be "winding down" its Canada operations, which it later announced.
The charity blamed the ongoing health crisis and the Trudeau government scandal involving the charity.
A statement from the Kielburger brothers, who founded the charity, reads: "COVID-19 disrupted every aspect of our work,.. The fallout from the Canada Student Service Grant has placed us as a charity in the middle of political battles and misinformation that we are ill-equipped to fight. The financial math for the charity's future is clear."
The Kielburger brothers also announced that they would be stepping away from the operation, reports The Star.
"Through decisive action to preserve our savings, sell our assets and establish an endowment, we hope to sustain global projects for the long-term, like our hospital, college and agricultural learning centre that meet critical needs of children and families," Craig Kielburger said in the statement.
"We are saddened by these developments. This year marks the 25th anniversary of WE Charity Canada. We planned to launch an endowment this year, but not in this way," said Marc Kielburger. "I feel confident, though, we've found a way forward that protects and continues to support the most vulnerable in the communities where we work, especially the children. The lasting impact of our work has been made possible by the many people who have supported WE Charity Canada over the past two decades. For that we are tremendously grateful."
WE Charity announced in August that it would be laying off dozens of employees across Canada and the United Kingdom, citing the coronavirus pandemic as well as "recent events."
In Canada, the charity said it would be laying off 22 full-time employees, with an additional 59 employees working on "fixed-term contracts," meaning their contracts would not be renewed.
Trudeau scandal still ongoing
The Trudeau Liberal government and the WE Charity has been widely criticized for weeks now, as the federal government moved to give the charity a contract worth nearly a billion dollars.
The contract was retracted after revelations that the charity was closely connected with members of Trudeau's family and cabinet, including now-ex Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
The scandal and the corruption that came to light with it lead to widespread criticism from opposition parties, as well as watchdog groups.
The leader of the NGO Democracy Watch, Duff Conacher, for example, said that he would grade Justin Trudeau's Liberals an failing grade when it comes to ethics and open government.
During an ethics committee meeting in August, the Conservative Ethics Critic Michael Barrett asked Conacher "what grade would you give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his adherence to ethics laws since being elected in 2015?"
"Well, both in ethics laws but also in terms of breaking open government promises, the Liberal's grade an F in both cases," he responded.