Ottawa, July 10 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother Margaret and his brother Alexandre have both been paid tens of thousands of dollars to appear at events for WE Charity, according to a media report.
In a response to an inquiry from CBC News, WE Charity on Thursday provided details of the speaking fees paid to both individuals for their participation at events between 2016 and 2020.
Both Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre are registered with the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau, which arranges appearances for clients in exchange for negotiated fees.
Margaret Trudeau spoke at approximately 28 events and received honoraria amounting to C$250,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately C$32,000, the CBC News report said.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have been under fire since it announced on June 25 that they were awarding a C$19.5 million sole-source contract to WE Charity to administer the Canada Student Service Grant, a C$912 million program offering grants of between C$1,000 and C$5,000 to post-secondary students in return for supervised volunteer hours.
WE Charity said last week it was pulling out of administering CSSG, citing the ongoing controversy surrounding it and the government’s decision to give the sole-source contract to the organisation.
Prime Minister Trudeau said the federal government would take over the program.
On July 3, Canada’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion announced that he was probing a possible breach of federal conflict of interest act by Prime Minister Trudeau over his government’s decision.
On Thursday evening, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, “received C$1,500” for participating in a WE event in 2012, before he became leader of the ruling Liberal Party.
“The Prime Mminister has never received payment for any events with WE,” the PMO was quoted as saying by CBC News.
Earlier this week, opposition MPs on the House of Commons finance committee passed two motions meant to pry more information out of the Trudeau government about the process that led to the decision to task the WE Charity with administering the federal program.