WE Charity was founded in the year 1995 by two Canadians, Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger. The idea behind the charity was to focus on international development through the implementation of programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The charity currently also runs youth programs in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the charity and its link with the Trudeau family.
Justin Trudeau signed a contract with WE Charity as a way to provide grants to Canadian students for volunteer work related to the pandemic. But unsurprisingly, it seems that this was nothing more than a lucrative scheme. The federal government (unethically) approved a $900 million contract to the WE Charity (which, as a taxpayer, you are paying) towards a four-month student volunteer program. Why did they select this particular charity? Well, it turns out the charity provided very profitable speaking gigs for the Trudeaus over the years.
It has been confirmed that WE Charity has previously paid large sums of money to Justin Trudeau’s late father and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as well as Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother for speaking engagements. Since 2016, Trudeau’s mother, Margaret Trudeau has received a total of $312,000 from WE for 28 speaking engagements and Alexandre Trudeau, Trudeau’s brother, received $40,000 for 8 speaking engagements from 2017 to 2018. Although Trudeau was not yet PM in 2012, his wife Sophie Trudeau received $1400 for one appearance. The link between WE Charity and the Trudeau family is clear. Given these facts, it is evident that Trudeau’s actions present a conflict of interest. One could further argue that in a way, this is a form of nepotism.
Rightfully so, Trudeau has received backlash for his decision to sign a contract with WE Charity. Yet, he responded to the increasing criticism from the public and defended his decision by stating that the charity was the only one capable of delivering the student summer grant program. In other words, Trudeau’s defense is that only WE Charity is capable of successfully organizing and implementing this program out of the thousands of charities in the country. The truth is that Trudeau simply wanted to give a large sum of taxpayer money to his favourite charity, one that has paid his own family members hundreds of thousands for appearances. The public deserves accountability and the public certainly deserves transparency. WE demand it!
Given the corruption surrounding WE Charity, it should be banned from all public schools. Our students definitely deserve better. Sure, WE may have begun as a moral organization but it’s clearly become corrupt and greedy, losing all credibility. It doesn’t appear that this is the first time that the charity has found itself in hot water. Former employees have come forward about their mistreatment while working for the charity. The charity has also been criticized for taking advantage of young students. A report by Canadaland highlights this, citing an intimidating and toxic work environment for young people. For these reasons, we need to ensure that WE Charity is banned from our public schools as it clearly does not serve our students any purpose.
Stay safe Airdrie!
MLA Angela Pitt