While facing the most pressing global emergency in a hundred years, top Canadian government officials are embroiled in a full-scale conflict of interest scandal for attempting to funnel over $40 million to a real-estate holding company for the WE charity foundation. This WE charity foundation has clear ties with the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and with their governing Liberal Party as a whole.
This latest scandal, started to unfold when the Liberal government announced a $900 million student volunteer grant program which was to be run by the WE charity organization. Opposition leaders as well as Canadians began to realize that Justin Trudeau and his family have supported the WE organization in the past, and this includes the fact that several of his family members have been paid over $300,000 in speaking fees by the organization. Any reasonably thinking person would see that there is a clear conflict of interest here.
With regards to the Finance Minister Bill Morneau, his conflict of interest comes by way of his daughter’s employment with the charity and the fact that WE has paid for over $40,000 in travel fees for him. Morneau claims that it was only in the last few days, coincidentally in the lead up to his testimony at the House of Commons finance committee, that he realized the mishap, and reimbursed the organization – three years after the fact. “It’s my mistake”, he conceded, but at the end of the day, even if it truly was a mistake, it was a mistake that would certainly deem anyone unfit to serve as the top financial advisor in parliament during such a pressing crisis.
When it comes to the $900 million figure of the student-focused program the WE charity stood to receive over $40 million of it for administrative fees – and this during a time when millions of Canadians are struggling financially. Trudeau and Morneau favour illegal financial handouts to their Liberal friends as opposed to helping struggling Canadians to pay their bills. This is simply not a team that’s fit to lead a democratic nation where we hold ourselves to the highest of ethical standards.
The questions that Canadians are left asking are whether or not Bill Morneau will be able to weather rampant calls for his resignation, and when the opposition parties will call an end to the abomination of current Liberal status quo and initiate the next federal election process with a vote of non-confidence. The Liberal caucus has, for better or for worse, stood by their scandal-plagued leader and finance minister – which has, and continues to cause the party decisive harm in their public image and polling. Because the party seems unwilling to oust its unfit leadership, an election will be called before too long by a cooperative opposition force, and the outcome will not favour the embattled party.
The lasting affects of the WE scandal will be decisive for the near-future of Canadian politics – decisively damaging for the Liberal Party, and decisively constructive for the others. There have already been reports, albeit anonymous ones, that have claimed several internal rifts within the Liberal caucus, and although all of the party’s MPs are inflating a front of public support for its leadership, the party has undoubtedly suffered greatly.
On Thursday, July 30th the Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff are going to appear in the House of Commons finance committee to testify on the logistical nature of the student volunteer grant program which was to be organized by the WE charity. Up until now, it remains to be seen whether the obvious mishap was just that, a mishap, or if it was a deliberate attempt by top Liberal government officials to undermine the democratic system. In either case, the government made a major mistake and it is highly unlikely that they will come out of this situation unscathed. At the very least, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will have to resign or be removed; deliberately or not, Mr. Morneau is still at fault for what could have been a massive robbery of Canadian taxpayer dollars, and his lack of organization of his own financial obligations deems him unworthy and unfit of managing the finances of an entire nation.