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A talent agency in Toronto has to yield records by July 29 detailing fees that have been paid to Trudeau family members for speaking at events, according to Blacklock’s.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received almost $300,000 in fees as an MP.
Speakers’ Spotlight of Toronto acted as Trudeau's talent agency and was ordered on July 22 by The Commons ethics committee to surrender “a copy of all records” involving Trudeau’s paid appearances over the past twelve years along with paid appearances made by his wife, mother and brother.
Trudeau became a professional speaker in 2008 after being elected as the Papineau, Que. MP, before he became a Liberal party leader in 2013. He said his rates were $10,000 to $20,000 for every appearance he made and as a MP he received $277,000 in fees.
“It’s important that in the context of ensuring transparency and accountability for all public office holders, that we ensure recusals are made where appropriate and that disclosures are made where appropriate,” noted Conservative MP Michael Barrett “That has not been the practice of this Prime Minister.”
Trudeau's mother, Margaret and his brother, Alexander are still currently the talent agency’s clients and Margaret charges $15,000 per appearance as one of the agency’s “most requested speakers.”
The inquiry comes after it was revealed that WE Charity paid $352,000 to Margaret and Alexandre Trudeau for speaking at events. WE Charity was awarded a grant worth as much as $43.5 million by Cabinet on June 25 though it was cancelled after the payments to the Trudeau family were disclosed.
“We’ll take a look at those documents and see if there are other areas where disclosures ought to have been made,” said MP Barrett. “And if necessary, we’ll refer those matters to the appropriate authorities, be it the Ethics Commissioner or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
MPs are forbidden from accepting “any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted by them in their official capacity” under section 119 of the Criminal Code and could potentially receive 14 years’ imprisonment.
MPs are also banned—under section 121—from accepting “from any person for himself or another person a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for cooperation, assistance, exercise of influence or an act of omission in connection with the transaction of business with any, or any matter relating to, the government.”
“We have written the RCMP,” said MP Pierre Poilievre. “We believe there are sections of the Criminal Code in play when it comes to providing government officials with significant financial benefits, and then asking those same government officials for favourable decisions.”