Margaret Trudeau speaks to the audience at fans at a We Day event in Toronto, on Thursday, September 20, 2018. The federal Conservatives are calling on a speaking agency through which WE Charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family to hand over documents about the arrangements. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Tories ask speaking agency to release records on WE’s payments to Trudeau family

Parliament is set to return Sept. 23 with a new speech from the throne

The federal Conservatives are calling on a speaking agency through which WE Charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family to hand over all documents about the arrangements.

The request is contained in a letter from Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett to Speakers’ Spotlight on Thursday that notes the agency was first asked by the House of Commons ethics committee to produce the documents last month.

The initial deadline was July 29 for all records pertaining to speaking appearances by Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, mother Margaret Trudeau and brother Alexandre Trudeau at different WE events dating back to October 2008.

The agency subsequently asked for an extension and the committee agreed to a new date of Aug. 19. Trudeau prorogued Parliament one day before that new deadline, ending the committee investigations that were underway into the WE controversy.

Parliament is set to return Sept. 23 with a new speech from the throne.

In his letter, Barrett said the committee agreed to the request for an extension “in good faith,” and that the decision to prorogue Parliament represented “an attack on our democracy and the ethics committee’s duty to Canadians to pursue truth and justice.”

Despite prorogation, however, Barrett said there was nothing to stop the agency from “doing the right thing” and delivering the documents.

“The shuttering of the ethics committee does not hinder your ability to make this information public in order to bring clarity and transparency to government,” he wrote.

The federal ethics watchdog is investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act for his role in the Liberal government’s decision to have WE administer a multimillion-dollar student-volunteer program. WE backed out of the agreement in early July, citing the political controversy, and the program has been abandoned.

Trudeau has been a featured speaker at six WE Day events and his wife hosts a podcast for the group. Both WE and the Trudeaus have said the couple was not paid for their work.

But WE has confirmed that Trudeau’s mother was paid about $250,000 for 28 speaking appearances at WE-related events between 2016 and 2020 and his brother has been paid $32,000 for eight events.

The organization has also said the two were reimbursed about $200,000 in expenses, while Gregoire Trudeau has participated in seven WE Days and received an average of $3,618 for each event, to cover her expenses. That works out to $25,326 in total.

Trudeau has apologized for not recusing himself from cabinet’s discussions about the agreement to have WE run Canada Student Services Grant, but insisted it was public servants who recommended the organization.

Thousands of government documents released by Trudeau last week appeared to back up that assertion, but they also suggested bureaucrats may have been encouraged to work with WE by their political masters.

READ MORE: Opposition parties decry black ink in WE documents, allege continuing coverup

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Conservative Party of CanadaJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Gratitude is a great thing, what are you grateful for?

‘I want to say a heartfelt thanks to Steven Cahill for all his hard work over the years’

UPDATE: North Island Green Party nomination still to be determined

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

COVID-19 has caused many changes for Port Hardy Fire Rescue so far this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s first and second quarterly reports for 2020 were reviewed by council.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read