The prime minister says he did nothing to influence the government’s decision to hire WE Charity to run a student volunteer program that is now in jeopardy. The question of how the Liberals will use the $912-million-dollars budgeted for a COVID19 student-volunteer program remains unanswered, after Justin Trudeau wrapped up a 90-minute appearance before the House of Commons finance committee yesterday. The Prime Minister said the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) was another way to promote youth service and the Liberals will continue to look for opportunities to do that. During his testimony, Trudeau told the committee the country won’t know whether going with WE Charity to run the program was the right decision, because the organization backed out.
Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford has told the committee that in hindsight, the government could have done multiple things that would have saved the student-volunteer program.
Late April: gov awards WE the program.
May 5: Trudeau advisor talks to WE
May 5: WE starts implementing program
May 22: Cabinet approves the creations of the WE program.
— pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) July 30, 2020
Trudeau also said he first learned about the proposal to have WE Charity run the Canada Student Service Grant on May 8th, just hours before it was scheduled to be discussed at a cabinet meeting. He claims he knew it would come under scrutiny, and pulled the item from the agenda in order to have more questions answered. But, two weeks later, the public service reaffirmed its decision that WE was the only organization that could run the student-volunteer program. Trudeau said it was a choice between going ahead with WE Charity running the program, or not going ahead with it at all, which will now likely be the case.
Here is the Prime Minister’s testimony:
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot