Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother Margaret and his brother Alexandre have both been paid to appear at WE Charity events
In a response to an inquiry from CBC News, WE Charity has provided details of the speaking fees paid to both individuals for their participation at events between 2016 and 2020.
Both Margaret and Alexandre are registered with the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau, which arranges appearances for clients in exchange for negotiated fees.
Margaret spoke at approximately 28 events and received honoraria amounting to $250,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have been under fire since announcing the sole-source contract with WE Charity to administer the $900-million Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) project, because of the charity’s association with the Trudeau family.
Trudeau and his mother Margaret have appeared at a number of WE Day events, while Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, hosts a podcast for the group called “WE Well-being.”
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion last week said he would be conducting an investigation into Trudeau’s role in the deal.
WE Charity said last week it was pulling out of administering CSSG, citing the ongoing controversy surrounding it and the government’s decision to give the sole-source contract to WE. Prime Minister Trudeau said the federal government would take over the program.
Some 35,000 students and recent graduates have applied for the CSSG, which connects them with volunteering opportunities in exchange for payments of between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the number of hours worked.
WE Charity has said in the past that members of the Trudeau family don’t receive fees or honoraria when they appear at WE events. Grégoire Trudeau has been reimbursed for travel expenses related to her volunteer work with the organization.
Earlier this week, opposition MPs on the House of Commons finance committee passed two motions meant to pry more information out of the government about the process that led to the decision to task the WE Charity with administering a $900 million federal program.
One motion tasks the committee with interviewing witnesses about the contract, including Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart and Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger. The second motion demands that all documents, memos, briefing notes, correspondence and other documents related to the deal with WE Charity be delivered to the committee by Aug. 8.