Something in the PM’s official itinerary may have put Justin Trudeau’s testimony on the WE scandal in question.
Justin Trudeau testified before the House Standing Committee on Finance yesterday. Trudeau and his Chief of Staff Katie Telford helped committee members contruct a timeline for the conception, execution, and shelving of the Canada Student Service Grant — the program the Trudeau government was set to deploy in partnership with the WE group and the Kielburgers.
I outlined key dates of timeline in my newsletter this morning (subscribe below!)
Here is a concise summary of those dates:
April 22nd – Government of Canada announces the Canada Summer Service Grant
May 4th – Sophie Gregoire Trudeau launches new podcast with the wife of Craig Kielburger, Leysa Cerswell Kielburger.
May 5th – The COVID cabinet committee considers and approves of the program and the partnership with the WE group. WE and its organization were able to start charging eligible expenses to the government of Canada on this date.
May 8th – Justin Trudeau says he found out about the WE affiliation with the CSSG and ‘pushed back’ given that his family had been closely involved with WE. (Trudeau told the committee he knew his family was receiving money from WE but didn’t know how much)
May 22nd – The cabinet approves the CSSG-WE group scheme.
June 23rd – The WE group and the Government of Canada sign the contribution agreement (sole-source contract). The contract covers expenses back to May 5th.
June 25th – Government makes the partnership public.
Let’s take a look at Justin Trudeau’s itinerary.
According to the Prime Minister’s own itinerary, on May 5th he was scheduled to attend the COVID committee. We know that the cabinet committee met on this date and approved the WE partnership according to the Trudeau/Telford testimony. Is this the cabinet committee or the general House of Commons committee? UPDATE: we’ve been informed that this refers to the House committee.
Bill Morneau sits on the COVID cabinet committee. WE paid for two of his trips to Africa and the Amazon. He should have been aware of the appearence of a conflict of interest before approving the WE partnership on May 5th.
The question remains, did Justin Trudeau know about the WE group partnership before May 8th when he said he pushed back? The cabinet committee approved the partnership on May 5th and presumably would not have if Trudeau was having doubts about the ‘appearence’ of conflict of interest as he testified. Did he have doubts on May 8th or sooner? When did he know about the proposed WE partnership?
Regardless, those doubts seem to be moot anyway as the whole of cabinet approved the Government of Canada/WE group partnership on June 23rd. Trudeau/Telford say that the decision was ‘binary’: help the students and get into bed with WE, or let students go without.
Will Justin Trudeau be recalled to committee? Will committee members be satisfied with Justin Trudeau’s testimony on the WE scandal?