Canadian News Aug 14, 2020 8:04 PM EST

EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau gov't gave $20 million to company that paid Liberal minister

The Trudeau government gave $20 million to a venture capital investment company that the Liberal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault advised.

EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau gov't gave $20 million to company that paid Liberal minister
Nico Johnson Montreal, QC
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The Trudeau government gave $20 million to a venture capital investment company that the Liberal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault advised.

Guilbeault was an adviser to Cycle Capital Management (the organization that received this federal funding). According to his LinkedIn, the Liberal minister worked for the organization as a strategic councilor.

As well as this, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner states that Guilbeault had received income from a contract with Cycle Capital Management within the last 12 months. Cycle Capital Management made the $20 million government funding announcement this February.  

Despite this, a spokesperson for Minister Guilbeault told The Post Millennial that he no longer works or receives payment from Cycle Capital Management. On top of this, his spokesperson said that "there is no conflict of interest to report ... [he] ended his advising role with Cycle Capital Management before he became a candidate."

Cycle Capital Management was awarded the $20 million as a result of the government's "Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative," which was announced in 2017.

Guilbeault joined Cycle Capital Management in 2018, becoming a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie a year later.

Speaking to The Post Millennial, the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Confederation Aaron Wudrick said "conflicts of interest arise when there is even the perception of a conflict. There doesn't need to actually be a conflict."

"The mere appearance of one is still a problem, as it undermines public confidence that governments and politicians are acting in an impartial way," he added.

The Conservative Ethics Critic Michael Barrett told The Post Millennial that "The Trudeau Liberals have a track record of rewarding their friends with taxpayers’ dollars."

"Justin Trudeau needs to be transparent with Canadians that Minister Guilbeault was not part of the decision-making process to award $20 million to a firm he previously worked at," he added.

The Trudeau government has been facing increasing criticism over alleged cronyism between Liberal ministers and various insider organizations since the prime minister awarded a $900 million contract to the WE organization.

This was seen most clearly through the fact Trudeau's family was paid by WE to speak at events, and through the fact that Finance Minister Bill Morneau's daughters were either employees of WE or had been endorsed by their co-founders.

Minister Joly and Minister O'Regan have also been wrapped up in this scandal, alongside the prime minister's Chief of Staff Katie Telford.

Both the prime minister and the finance minister are being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner over their failure to recuse themselves from the cabinet discussion to award WE this contract.

If found guilty, the prime minister will breach an unprecedented third ethics violation.

Steven Guilbeault has long been a controversial politician within the Liberal government. The now-Heritage Minister first made a name for himself when he was arrested for climbing the CN tower in the early 2000's.  

As a minister, Guilbeault made national headlines when he said Canadian news outlets should require mandatory licencing. He later walked back on these comments.

Correction: The spokesperson for Liberal Minister Mary Ng said that there was no cabinet discussion over the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative.

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