The minister of Finance, Bill Morneau
July 22, 2020 15h32
Updated until 16h16
STATES: Trudeau will be heard before a committee, and Morneau called on to resign
The canadian Press
OTTAWA — the office of The prime minister Justin Trudeau announced that he had accepted the invitation of a federal committee to testify on the matter STATES, while the testimony of his minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, was immersed in the hot water.
“The terms regarding the date and time will be known soon,” said the office of Mr. Trudeau.
During his appearance on Wednesday afternoon, the minister Morneau revealed that he wrote a check for over $ 41,000 to the body UNITED to reimburse certain expenses related to the two aid trips in 2017 organized by the organization, and to which he and his family have participated.
In the summer of 2017, he says his wife and one of her daughters have traveled to Kenya to learn more about the work of STATES there. Later this year, he is said to have traveled with his family in Ecuador to see the work of STATES.
Mr. Morneau said that it has found documents totaling more than 52 000 $ in expenses out of his pocket for these two trips, but that this sum was not the total cost of the humanitarian missions of the united STATES.
He is said to have made a cheque of 41 366 $ Wednesday, just prior to his appearance before the committee, to reimburse the cost of certain expenses such as transport costs, the costs of construction for a school and the cost of meals that have not been loaded.
“It was always my intention to pay the total cost of these trips and it was my responsibility to make sure that this was the case. Not to do so, even unintentionally, is inappropriate. I want to apologize for this error on my part”, he said.
These excuses were not enough for the conservative Pierre Poilievre, who argues that Mr. Morneau has committed an illegal act, as a minister, since he accepted a trip paid for by a third party. Mr. Poilievre has said that the minister had lost “moral authority” and asked him to resign.
It is, in effect, “prohibits any public office holder and any member of his family to accept a gift or other advantage” which could influence it in its functions, according to the Law on conflict of interests.
Mr. Morneau had already apologized for it not to be withdrawn from cabinet discussions when the contract is awarded, given that his daughters have relationships with US – one even works within the organization.
The minister of Finance and the prime minister are the subject of an investigation by the ethics commissioner for possible violations of the rules on conflict of interest. The liberals argue that they are senior public servants who have recommended STATES to the contract, because it was the only organization in the country to be able to administer such a program as quickly and as widely.
On Tuesday, the senior officer of Canada, stated that he could not imagine that the minister of Finance and the prime minister can be absent in the discussions on a program as large and as costly.
The students are demanding the money
Two coalitions representing hundreds of thousands of post-secondary students in Canada are urging the federal government to forget about his Award for the volunteer student, and to reallocate its budget of $ 900 million in other student assistance programs.
The purpose of the bursary program, first unveiled by the liberals in April, offered to pay students up to $ 5000 for their future tuition, based on the number of hours of volunteer work carried out this summer.
But the deployment of this programme is fraught with challenges, since the agency chosen by Ottawa to administer, STATES, was withdrawn in the full ethical controversy involving Justin Trudeau. The organization has already paid a fee to the mother and the brother of the prime minister.
For the canadian Federation of students and canadian Alliance of student associations, it is clear that the program will not provide the financial assistance expected.
The Federation, which represents 64 associations in the country, believes that the student may not be able to accumulate enough volunteer hours for a scholarship, because the month of August approach and we still do not know at what time the program will be available. The Federation, which claims to represent 500,000 students, calls on the liberals to spend all the money provided for the program, a service of emergency for students without a job.
The canadian Alliance of student associations (23 members, which represent 264 000 students), believes that this money should be redirected to aid students who will take the course in September, but it does not specify which mechanism to use.
The Alliance nonetheless considers that it would be too late to reallocate in the Service of the canadian emergency for students, created during the pandemic, or in the Canada summer Jobs program, which subsidizes the salaries of students in the small businesses and non-profit organizations.