Justin Trudeau apologized for not objecting when his government has awarded US a contract of $ 900 million for the management of the scholarship program to students who will be volunteering this summer.
13 July 2020 14h16
Trudeau apologizes for his mistake in the folder of the volunteer student
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau has admitted on Monday that he had personally committed an error in deciding not to recuse himself when his government has awarded the charity “STATES” a contract to manage a substantial programme of scholarships to students who will be volunteering this summer.
The prime minister took the lead during his daily press conference, Monday, to explain his long-standing involvement, and that of his family, with the body STATES (WE) would have had the push to withdraw from the discussion that led to the award of the contract for program management of $ 900 million. “I would not have had to be involved in these discussions, he admitted. It was my mistake, I apologize deeply.”
The apology surprises are a volte-face for the prime minister, who has tried for weeks to defend the contract that was controversial, to single provider, with STATES. The apology of Mr. Trudeau also occur in the wake of revelations that his wife, his brother and his mother have received $ 300,000 for having participated in public events of the U.S. for a few years.
Mr. Trudeau has also dodged Monday morning to questions from journalists who asked him if he was aware that his family had received the money of the united STATES when the cabinet decided to approve the contract : he simply argued that he knew their involvement in the organization, but not in detail.
Sorry for the delays
The prime minister has indicated that he was particularly sorry that the delay in the Scholarship program, canadian volunteer student, caused by the decision of the agency to remove, damaging to students who are looking for ways to help their community during the pandemic COVID-19, while the summer jobs for youth are rare.
Mr. Trudeau had first announced the creation of a new program in April, and the details were announced on 25 June. The government has stated that tens of thousands of students who will have difficulties to find a job in the summer due to the pandemic will be able to obtain a scholarship for post-secondary education if they volunteer — up to $ 5000 to the maximum of 500 hours.
But the program has immediately raised questions when it was learned that the organization STATES had been chosen to administer it. Mr. Trudeau has first ascertained that the recommendation came from federal officials, and the agency STATES, well-established across the country, was considered as the only one able to get started quickly in the management of this program.
But Mr. Trudeau has quickly facing allegations of a conflict of interest because of his previous relations with STATES. These claims were amplified when it was learned last week that his wife, his brother and his mother had been paid to participate in public events to STATES. In addition, one of the daughters of the minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has also spoken at events of the united STATES, while another works under contract to the agency.
A contract of $20 million
MESSRS. Trudeau and Morneau have both confirmed that they were not removed when the cabinet has approved the awarding of a contract to UNITED. But the office of Mr. Morneau has denied Sunday any link between the participation of her daughters and the government contract granted to the organization to manage the scholarship program — the value of which reached $ 20 million, revealed Mr. Trudeau. The organization STATES said, including a full-page ad in a daily newspaper on Monday, that this sum would not have covered his expenses.
The government and STATES have put an end to the agreement on 3 July. The federal ministry of Employment and social Development has since taken over the management of the program, but officials have acknowledged that this change would lead to delays in its deployment.
The ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, is currently investigating a possible conflict of interest of Mr. Trudeau in this case. The conservatives and new democrats have also asked the commissioner Dion a focus on the involvement of the minister Morneau. The conservatives also want Mr. Trudeau to appear before the finance committee of the House of commons to answer questions on the way the agreement with USA was concluded. Mr. Trudeau has indicated that it would consider all the invitations, and discuss with its employees.
The opposition parties also request an investigation by the ethics committee of the House of commons, and the conservative senator Don Plett has written to the president of the upper house to request that the Senate be recalled this summer to begin its own investigation.
The daily newspaper, “The Globe and Mail” wrote on Monday that the minister of natural Resources, Seamus O’regan, and the chief of cabinet of Mr. Trudeau, Katie Telford, had already helped the organization STATES to collect funds, before the liberals to form the government in 2015.