Political fallout continues regardless of shuttering of WE’s Canadian operations

OTTAWA — The demise of WE’s Canadian operations will not take the warmth off Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his authorities’s choice to rent the charity to run a now-defunct pupil volunteer program.

NDP MP Charlie Angus says WE’s announcement Wednesday that it’s shuttering its Canadian operations solely underscores the dearth of due diligence accomplished by the federal government earlier than handing administration of this system over to a company that was evidently in monetary misery.

Two months earlier than the federal government gave the contract to WE in late June, Angus notes that the group had laid off lots of of workers and changed virtually its whole board of administrators, which had been denied entry to the charity’s monetary stories.

Angus says WE was “determined” and cashed in on its connections to Trudeau, his household and his former finance minister, Invoice Morneau, with a view to persuade them to pay the group to run the scholar service grant program.

Trudeau himself has been a featured speaker at half a dozen WE occasions and his spouse, mom and brother have been paid lots of of hundreds of over time in bills and talking charges.

Trudeau and Morneau have apologized for not recusing themselves from the choice to pay WE as much as $43.5 million to manage this system and are each beneath investigation by the federal ethics watchdog for attainable breaches of the Battle of Curiosity Act.

“WE shutting down does not make the Liberals’ scandal go away,” stated Angus.

The federal government insists it was bureaucrats who advisable that WE was the one group able to administering the large nationwide program. Nevertheless, hundreds of paperwork launched by the federal government recommend public servants could have been nudged to have a look at WE by their political masters.

Two Home of Commons committees have been within the midst of investigating the deal and one other two committees have been making ready to launch separate investigations when Trudeau prorogued Parliament final month, placing an finish to the committees’ work.

Nevertheless, the WE affair is prone to proceed dogging the federal government when Parliament reopens on Sept. 23 with the demise of the group’s Canadian operations solely including gas to the fireplace.

Conservative Chief Erin O’Toole stated Wednesday that WE should hand over all of the paperwork requested by the finance committee concerning the pupil service grant program.

This system was presupposed to cowl as much as $5,000 in training prices for college kids who volunteered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government initially pegged the price of this system at $912 million however the sole-source cope with WE put the associated fee at $543 million.

The deal stipulated that WE was to not become profitable on this system. The charity has repaid the total $30 million the federal government gave it to launch this system and has stated it won’t search reimbursement for some $5 million in bills incurred earlier than WE withdrew from the deal in early July amid political controversy.

The group had already been struggling as a result of pandemic-related shutdown however the questions concerning the pupil volunteer program prompted lots of its company sponsors to chop their ties with the charity.

WE stated Wednesday it plans to put off 115 Canadian workers and promote all its property in Canada within the coming months, together with its landmark $15-million International Studying Centre in downtown Toronto, which opened in 2017.

It follows information final month that WE could be shedding dozens of workers in Canada and the UK.

The web income will probably be put in an endowment fund that will probably be overseen by a brand new board of governors and used to finish a number of initiatives in communities in Latin America, Asia and Africa that have been began by WE however stay unfinished.

The fund can even cowl the working prices of a number of large-scale infrastructure initiatives, similar to a hospital and faculty in Kenya and an agricultural centre in Ecuador. Nevertheless, no new initiatives or packages will probably be launched.

All future WE Day occasions are additionally being cancelled. The group says it is going to not have workers to work with lecturers, although present assets will probably be digitized and accessible on-line. WE says it was lively in 7,000 colleges throughout Canada.

Shutting down its Canadian operations “exhibits simply how a lot hassle WE was in and the way badly they wanted this bailout from their Liberal mates,” Angus stated.

“They’ve have been in financial freefall for months. This was a bunch that fired its board of administrators for asking too many questions on its funds. The query is why did not the federal government see this earlier than handing them over a contract price tens of millions?”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 10, 2020.