Justin Trudeau testifies before the finance committee about the case STATES.
30 July 2020 15: 07
Updated at 18h33
Case STATES: preferential treatment, according to Justin Trudeau [VIDEO]
The canadian Press
OTTAWA — “The organization STATES has not received preferential treatment, nor of me, nor of anyone else”, has hammered the prime minister Justin Trudeau during a rare appearance before a committee of the House of commons, on Thursday afternoon.
For an hour and a half, Mr. Trudeau was questioned about the events that led up to his liberal cabinet to request the united STATES to oversee a program of 912 million $ to grant scholarships to students and graduates through volunteer work.
In her introductory remarks, the prime minister has said that he learned for the first time that the united STATES would administer a volunteer program student on may 8, a few hours before a meeting of his council of ministers, where they had to discuss.
Until then, it was expected that youth Service Canada manages the program.
“When I learned, we recommended that STATES I had any questions. I wanted to be sure that the proposal to call upon STATES to implement the program had been closely examined,” noted the prime minister.
Mr. Trudeau said that the public service returned to him on may 21, reaffirming its decision that UNITED was the only organization that could administer the volunteer program student. He said that the choice was between going ahead with the program, with the help of the united STATES, or not to go forward with the program at all.
He once again apologized for it not to be objected to discussions in the cabinet.
“I know that appearances can harm a good program. And of course, this is exactly what happened here and it really is a shame especially because this is a program that could be very important for the students and for our communities”, he lamented.
“I know that appearances can harm a good program. And of course, this is exactly what happened here and it really is a shame especially because this is a program that could be very important for the students and for our communities ”
It has also been hammered by questions about his ethics.
The conservative mp Pierre Poilievre reminded him that he had already been blamed on two occasions by the ethics commissioner – the first time for his trip paid for by the Aga Khan and the second time for the case of SNC-Lavalin.
“That is what happens when you have three shots?” asked the mp Poilievre.
Not aware of the travel
Mr. Trudeau said he was “not particularly” aware that his minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, had benefited from a humanitarian trip partially paid for by UNITED three years ago.
“It does not surprise me because I know at what point Mr. Morneau is involved in many causes, including causes for the youth. But no, I did not know that he had made precisely one trip with WE (united STATES)”, he said.
During his appearance last week, Mr. Morneau revealed that he had taken a cheque of more than 41 000 $ to STATES to reimburse certain expenses for a trip which he had participated and another in which his wife and one of his daughters had taken part in 2017.
The federal commissioner on ethics has decided to expand its investigation on the links between the minister Morneau and STATES. It was already carrying out a on the prime minister and another on Mr. Morneau for a possible violation of the Law on conflict of interest.
Mr. Trudeau has also said that he was not aware of the sums that had been paid to his mother, his brother and his wife by STATES for public appearances. He has not been able to identify these amounts when he was pressed for questions by the opposition.
UNITED had already confirmed that the mother of Mr. Trudeau, Margaret Trudeau, was paid approximately $ 250,000 for approximately 28 events related to STATES between 2016 and 2020, and his brother Alexander was paid $ 32,000 for eight events.
The brothers Kielburger testified Tuesday that the wife of Mr. Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, has participated in seven days STATES and has received an average of 3618 $ for each event to cover its expenses. This amounts to a total sum of 25 326 $.
Mr. Trudeau knew that UNITED had paid the fee for the most recent trip of his wife with US to London, in the month of march, but that it had not been paid to do so. It was also clarified that the ethics commissioner had approved this trip.
Despite all these links, Mr. Trudeau defended himself to be in a conflict of interest.
“I was not and I am not in a situation of conflict of interests,” he said, adding that he had apologized for the “perception” that could cause all this controversy with STATES.
His chief of staff Katie Telford, who took the floor after him, said that his team would have been able to “add a layer” of surveillance to make sure to dispel any perception of a conflict of interest with the organization.
The liberals should not think that the controversy will end after the appearance of the prime minister and Mrs. Telford, prevent the conservatives.
Speaking on Thursday morning in Regina, Saskatchewan, the leader of the conservative Party Andrew Scheer has said that the opposition will ensure that this history will continue to haunt the government for the rest of the summer and through the fall.
“Today, this is not the end of this story”, he dropped.
THE BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS MAINTAINS ITS THREAT TO BRING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT
As expected, Justin Trudeau is not able to convince the opposition parties on his role in the controversy surrounding STATES.
A rarity in canadian politics, the prime minister was questioned on Thursday by members of a parliamentary committee on the decision of the council of ministers to entrust to the STATES the supervision of a program of 912 million $ to grant scholarships to students and graduates through volunteer work.
Following this appearance, the leader of the Bloc québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, judge that the population is not much more advanced about the reasons which have prompted the government to appeal to US.