Once again, Justin Trudeau finds himself embroiled in another ethics scandal. The latest revelations from Canadaland about his government's plan to give WE Charity a sole-source, $900 million contract, may be some of the most damning to date and could be large enough to finally topple this Liberal government. Justin Trudeau’s repeated violations of the Conflict of Interest Act (S.C. 2006, c. 9, s. 2) show why this $900 million scandal must be different.
Not only did WE give hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trudeau’s immediate family members, but it was also revealed that Finance Minister Bill Morneau failed to recuse himself from the Liberal cabinet’s consideration of the WE Contract, despite the involvement of two of his immediate family members in the charity – one of them as a paid contract employee.
Additionally, WE Charity's social media accounts, media engagement, and website (until recently) were littered with examples of Trudeau/Morneau connections, including an outrageous full-production election style video that many have argued could be considered illegal. Considering the well documented level of co-mingling between the Liberal Party's top brass and the charity (including a long financial history), Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau’s decision to grant WE a sole source $900+ million contract without recusing themselves is almost difficult to believe, even when compared to this Liberal government’s history of already extremely poor decision making.
The execution of this move was so poorly thought out and sloppy that I am genuinely surprised by the Prime Minister’s lack of judgement. I say this because of the total lack of discretion exercised in this decision. Not only did Justin Trudeau not recuse himself from the decision to hand almost a billion dollars to WE Charity, we know now that the organization paid his family almost $300,000. The Trudeau Liberals cannot hide from this scandal.
Every single Cabinet Minister must answer for their part in approving this massive contract. Did they know that the Prime Minister’s family had a financial relationship with WE Charity? Would that have changed their position on awarding the organization a sole-sourced contract? Do Ministers or their family members have financial relationships with WE Charity? Are they comfortable with this kind of behavior from the Prime Minister? Canadians deserve answers.
Justin Trudeau already has a long track record of poor judgement and ethics violations. He was found guilty of improperly accepting free travel and accommodations on a luxury island vacation. He invited a known terrorist to diplomatic events and jeopardized Canada’s relationship with the largest democracy in the world. The Liberal government is running the highest deficits in Canadian history, with no plan to help Canadians get back to work or to restart our economy. He interfered in a criminal case by improperly pressuring, and firing the Attorney General in the SNC-Lavalin Corruption Scandal. So this is far from Trudeau’s first case of lapsed judgement, and it's certainly not his first brush with Canada's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. In fact, Justin Trudeau is the only Prime Minister in Canadian history to violate the act even a single time; and he's currently on track for his 3rd violation.
The Liberal Party’s bullheaded attempt to give almost $1 billion to an organization with such direct familial ties is a scandal in its own right, but this is part of a pattern of behavior. Every single Liberal Member of Parliament needs to look themselves in the mirror and decide if they are comfortable with Justin Trudeau being the leader of their party given his scandal-plagued track record. I will continue to push for better answers for my constituents alongside my Conservative colleagues, and use every tool at our disposal to get to the bottom of this scandal.
Warren Steinley is a Conservative MP for Regina-Lewvan.