A body-board had raised questions about the practices of STATES
The canadian Press
A committee of the House of commons which is investigating the contract awarded by the federal government to STATES has plunged more deeply in the internal affairs of the organization on Thursday.
Charity Intelligence Canada, a non-profit organization that advises its clients on the charities to support, has been cited on several occasions during the hearings of the finance Committee in the case of STATES (WE Charity, in English). But the agency had not yet testified in the investigation of the committee on the canadian program of college scholarships for volunteering, which was terminated in the controversy.
Charity Intelligence had already raised red flags about the practices of STATES, of the doubts which had been rejected by the co-founders of the organization, the brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, during their testimony before the same committee of the Commons last week.
The controversy surrounding the scholarship program has raised several questions about the complex structure and the accounting rules of the united STATES, his use of sponsors and celebrities, as well as its culture in the workplace.
The general director of Charity Intelligence, said Thursday that after two days of review of the financial data of the united STATES, she had discovered things that made her contact the branch for more details.
“I hope that with such an investment ($900 million), the government felt comfortable to ask questions, pick up the phone and ask for clarification on anything that was not clear,” said Kate Bahen before the standing Committee on finance.
In her introductory statement, she first reminded members that it was essential to help the charities, short of money due to a decrease in donations due to the pandemic. Ms. Bahen has then stated that his organization had no affiliation with a political party.
The liberal members of parliament were then questioned the findings of his organization on the united STATES and wondered why Charity Intelligence was there, even if she could not give an overview of the chronology of events surrounding the contract of scholarship.
“I have nothing against you or your organization, (but) I find it hard to understand how a body of four people can judge 250 organizations from a wide range of criteria”, said the liberal Peter Fragiskatos.
The members of the opposition, meanwhile, have argued that the conclusions of this body, drawn from the review of the financial reports, public, raise new questions about the way the liberal government has decided to entrust US with the reins of the program, without tender.
“Absolutely no due diligence has been identified in relation to the myriad of problems, things that should have been a red flag, and things that for any other charitable organization in the country, would have meant that there was absolutely no possibility that she was chosen,” said new democrat Peter Julian.
The contract awarded to STATES was to pay to one of its foundations up to $ 43.5 million to administer a scholarship program, which aimed to encourage students to enroll in a voluntary work related to the pandemic. Ottawa had booked 912 million $ for the program, but the initial contract with UNITED was 543 million $.
A controversy quickly broke out, at the end of June, when it was learned that the contract, without tender, was awarded to a charity linked to the prime minister Justin Trudeau and his family.
Mr. Trudeau was a guest speaker at six event “WE Day” since he became prime minister and his wife hosted a capsule podcast for the organization; neither Mr. Trudeau nor his wife have not been paid for their services. By contrast, the mother and the brother of Mr. Trudeau have received over the years nearly $ 300,000 to have delivered speeches at numerous events of the organization; they also received 200 000 $ to cover their expenses.
The minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has also been involved in this case: he acknowledged last month, before the same committee, that he had just reimburse US approximately $ 41,000 for expenses of travel offered by the organization to him and his family in 2017, in order to see first-hand the humanitarian projects in Ecuador and Kenya.
MESSRS. Trudeau and Morneau are both excused not to be removed from the discussions during the cabinet’s decision to entrust to US the management of scholarships.
The opposition parties now hope that the filing of a imminent of new documents relating to the case will shed more light on the way in which the contract has been awarded. The government has until Saturday to submit to the standing Committee on finance on all internal communications, notes of meetings and other documents related to this contract is now terminated.
The committee also wants to hear possibly the director of finance of the united STATES, Victor Li, and the minister of Employment and Development of the workforce, Carla Qualtrough, head of the scholarship program.
Another motion adopted by the committee is to hear witnesses who were well aware of the activities of STATES and offer with parliamentary privilege as protection against potential lawsuits.