On Wednesday, Global asked the national police force “whether the RCMP is investigating the Liberal government’s decision to award a contract to the WE Charity Foundation to administer the $900-million federal student grant program?”
An RCMP spokesperson responded, “The RCMP is examining this matter carefully with all available information and will take appropriate actions as required. It would be inappropriate for us to provide anymore further comments on this matter at this time.”
Global noted that the RCMP similarly said last year it was “examining” the SNC-Lavalin case. No charges resulted in that instance.
On July 10, Conservative MP Michael Barrett wrote a letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki requesting an investigation into possible criminal offences committed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in relation to the WE contract based on known facts.
“Yesterday, media reports revealed that three members of the Trudeau family have been paid by WE Charity—including, since Mr Trudeau’s appointment as Prime Minister, $312,000 to Margaret Trudeau and $40,000 to Alexandre Trudeau,” Barrett wrote.
He added that records show other than the Canada Student Service Grant, WE Charity has also received seven grants or contributions amounting to about $5.2 million, and another five contacts that totalled over $120,000 from the federal government since 2017.
Barrett said it “troubles” him that these transactions may have breached certain subsections of the Criminal Code.
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has begun investigating Trudeau on possible contravention of the Conflict of Interest Act, as well as former finance minister Bill Morneau.
Both have apologized for not recusing themselves from the decision to grant the WE Charity contract.
During a finance committee hearing on July 22, Morneau admitted that he had just repaid WE Charity more than $41,000 for expenses the organization covered for trips his family took to Kenya and Ecuador in 2017 to see some of its humanitarian work.
WE said the Morneau family trips were meant to be complimentary, part of a practice of showing donors the charity’s work to encourage them to give more.
Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said the trips violated several sections of the conflict-of-interest law that prohibit ministers or their families from accepting paid travel, adding that Morneau should resign his ministerial post.