It has been revealed that one of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's daughters works for WE, and the other has previously spoken at "WE Day" events. The revelation has intensified calls to investigate Morneau for ethics violations.
Though Morneau's family has close ties to WE, he refused to recuse himself from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Cabinet's motion to move $900 million from the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to the WE Charity, according to the National Post.
Michael Barrett, Conservative ethics critic, has demanded the RCMP launch an investigation into Trudeau's mishandling of the $900 million contract with the WE Charity.
“For the last several weeks, ethical questions have piled up about the federal government’s decision to award a sole-sourced contract to administer the Canada Student Service Grant to WE Charity, a group with deep and extensive links to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family,” he noted.
“I encourage the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate the possibility of criminal offences arising from these disturbing facts. You and the very able members of the national police force possess the necessary skills, expertise and tools to get to the bottom of this.”
Barrett was partially referring to how Trudeau's wife, mother, and brother had been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from the WE organization.
Morneau's office confirmed that Grace Acan, who became a part of Morneau's family in 2010, currently has employment at WE in an administrative role.
“She got this position on her own merits. There is absolutely no link between her employment and any work that WE does with the Government of Canada,” Maéva Proteau, Morneau's spokesperson, wrote in an email.
“The recommendation to have WE administer the program came from the public service. Ms. Acan’s term contract has absolutely no link with any work the charity has done with the Government of Canada. Mr. Morneau did not recuse himself from the discussions,” Proteau added.
It has also been confirmed that another of Morneau's daughters, Clare Morneau, has also taken up a speaking post at WE events following the publication of a book on refugee girls.
Federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion decided to open an investigation into Trudeau and his handling of the CSSG contract, and NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus sent a note to Dion's office saying that Morneau should also be investigated.
“One of Minister Morneau’s daughters is a current employee of WE Charity. It would seem apparent that Minister Morneau would recognize that the fact that his family member was an employee of this organization necessitated him to recuse himself regarding this extraordinary decision to outsource nearly billion-dollar commitment of public funds in a single source contract,” Angus said in the letter.
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