Canadian Charity Ensnared in Trudeau Ethics Scandal to Shut Down

OTTAWA—The Canadian charity at the center of a summer scandal engulfing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his Liberal administration is shutting down, attributing the decision partly to the ensuing political fallout.

Toronto-based WE Charity said Wednesday it would wind down its Canadian operations, citing the loss of corporate sponsors and an expected drop in donations as a result of a political uproar that weighed on Mr. Trudeau’s standing in public-opinion polls.

Mr. Trudeau’s government in June awarded a contract—never put out for public bids—to WE Charity to run a student-grant program, aimed at getting money to students struggling to find a job because of the coronavirus pandemic in exchange for volunteer work in their community. The charity stood to receive as much as 43 million Canadian dollars ($32.6 million) for its work managing the nearly C$1 billion program. It was later revealed WE paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the prime minister’s mother and brother to appear at charity events and cover eligible expenses.

Further, the former finance minister, Bill Morneau, said he and his family accepted tens of thousands of dollars in hospitality and travel paid by WE Charity, and one of his daughters worked for the organization. Mr. Morneau said he paid back the money in July after it came to his attention. He stepped down as head of the treasury last month, and left politics.

A spokesman for Mr. Trudeau declined to comment. The prime minister testified before a parliamentary committee in late July, at which time he said neither he nor his aides instructed officials to award the contract to WE Charity. He added he initially balked at the recommendation that WE Charity receive the contract, and asked bureaucrats to do further due diligence to ensure it was best able to deliver what the government needed.

[Source : The Wall Street Journal]


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