Trudeau criticized for tweet to Trevor Noah pledging $50M charity gift

Conservatives’ Andrew Scheer accuses PM of promising the cash in a tweet to impress a TV personality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a closing press conference at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada will contribute $50 million to a global charity for children’s education, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted to comedian Trevor Noah – a pledge that quickly drew criticism both for its content and its form.

Celebrities gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, a charity concert honouring Nelson Mandela a century after he was born.

Trudeau tweeted to Noah, who is hosting the festival, that Canada would give the money to Education Cannot Wait, an organization that funds education for children affected by conflicts, natural disasters and other crises.

Global Citizen is an organization that wants to end extreme poverty by 2030. Its Mandela 100 campaign sought to bring in US$1 billion in donations, and Global Citizen tweeted that the campaign surpassed that goal, bringing in more than $7 billion.

“Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it,” Trudeau tweeted to the South African comedian and “The Daily Show” host.

Noah said “This is amazing!” as Trudeau’s tweet was shown on a big screen at the concert.

READ MORE: Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

But back in Canada critics were less enthusiastic. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau of pledging $50 million in a tweet to impress a TV personality.

“A lot of politicians like to be liked. He likes to have his tweets liked and he likes to have his messages retweeted and shared and it seems to be singularly focused on adulation from celebrities, whereas our party and our caucus is focused on doing what’s right by Canadian taxpayers,” Scheer said at an appearance in Winnipeg.

Similarly, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel tweeted that Trudeau’s message was “tone deaf” and also accused him of trying to get noticed by a TV star and said the money had not been budgeted for.

Louis Belanger, the director of communications for International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, said the $50 million is part of $400 million in aid previously announced during the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que., near Quebec City, in June.

Belanger said Education Cannot Wait is one of the only funds that specifically helps girls’ education in places such as refugee camps and war zones.

“This is the type of funding that we had our eye on since we announced it in Quebec City,” he said.

Belanger said the decision to announce the $50 million was made three weeks ago but officials had been talking about giving to Education Cannot Wait for months.

He said the organization operates in Jordan, Lebanon and South Sudan and in camps where people have been displaced by the west African terrorist group Boko Haram, for example.

—With files from The Associated Press

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Hardy council creates subscription-based portal for agendas and minutes

It was a “council decision based on presentation by staff during financial planning budget meetings.”

World Class Hiking Trail For The North Island?

The idea is getting some serious attention.

Provincial grants help communities map, meet housing needs

The next intake for funding is open until Nov. 29, 2019.

North Island Rising: Can the future of the North Island be managed?

Can growth be managed and if so, is now the time to start figuring things out?

Less than a month to go until the Mount Waddington Fall Fair!

The committee is hoping for a record number of exhibits this year

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read