This pandemic has had far too much of an impact on the world we live in to go into lengths about it, but needless to say, it was always known that not everyone would pull through these trying times.
The WE charity is one of those groups that has been brought down in the wake of COVID-19, but not directly because of it. When the government of Canada decided to roll out plans for a student volunteer grant for the summer of 2020, many had reservations about the administration’s choice to have the WE charity run the program. Not to harp on the previously well-intentioned and globally involved organization, but their peculiar ties to top Canadian government officials and their immediate families was always going to stand in the way of this trick unfolding.
Administering the $900 million program and receiving over $40 million to do so was a ploy by the Kielburger brothers to give their organization a financial facelift in times where all charities have struggled greatly. On the 9th of September, Craig and Marc Kielburger announced that they would be closing the charity’s operations in Canada, largely due to the political fallout of the botched deal with the government as well as very real financial issues.
Newly appointed Conservative caucus-party liaison, Tim Uppal described the initial contract as “riddled with conflict of interest”, while NDP ethics critic, Charlie Angus highlighted that the WE charity is an “incredibly sophisticated organization that have courted the powerful, that had a huge corporate marketing machine that carefully curated their relationship with all the important Liberals right up to the Prime Minister and his family.” Angus also described the Kielburgers’ testimony to the finance committee as “not credible”. Even considering the clear financial impacts of the pandemic on a universal scale, Tim Uppal moved to say that the actions of Liberal politicians “sunk this charity”. Although the Kielburgers acknowledged that both the political scandal and pandemic-related financial issues were the reason for shutting down in Canada, much of the charity’s financial backing from stable corporate deals was pulled as a result of the scandal.
With the charity gone, opposition critics are insisting that all relevant documents to the now-suspended parliamentary committees be preserved and reopened once the throne speech is read later this month. It remains to be seen what the directional intent of each major party is once parliament is back in session. Having said this, the ‘new slate’ that a throne speech ushers in will provide a clear opportunity to position oneself with respect to the new Liberal plan. With big spending on the way, Canadians must decide if they believe they are entitled enough to excessive treatment at the current moment to justify digging multiple generations into a future of debt, debt, and debt. If Canadians do in fact believe that they are so entitled, they must then consider if this scandal-plagued and corrupt government is the one to carry out this plan.
Time will tell how long it takes to get to the next federal election, but it is becoming more and more likely that the WE charity scandal will mark the end of this Trudeau government.