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WE scandal: Kielburgers claim WE charity wouldn’t have benefited from Liberal cash

“WE Charity would only be reimbursed its costs to build and administer the program. To be clear, there was no financial benefit for the charity,” said Craig

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The Kielburger brothers say the charity they founded would not have benefited from nearly a billion payment to run a student loan program.

And they admitted they only hired the prime minister’s mother to speak on mental health when Justin Trudeau came to power.

“WE Charity would only be reimbursed its costs to build and administer the program. To be clear, there was no financial benefit for the charity,” said Craig, who along with his brother Marc, testifying in front of a Senate inquiry Tuesday into the WE scandal.

In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new program called the Canada Student Service Grant that promised to pay to students who volunteer over the summer.

Management of what was called $900-million program was outsourced to WE Charity. WE Charity would be paid up to $43 million to run the program.

After controversy erupted, the WE organization withdrew from the program.

Craig told MPs the amount of money involved was only $543 million. The charity has already received roughly $30 million of that but says it will repay the amount in full. They added the charity would be out $5 million they had already spent on the program.

The brothers denied they stood to personally benefit from the deal.

Under tense questioning from Tory Pierre Poilievre, Marc denied he had spoken to Trudeau’s office about the deal before it was announced.

He claims he misspoke after at first claiming a call did take place.

It has emerged Margaret Trudeau spoke at approximately 28 WE events and received honoraria amounting to $312,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000, while Sophie Gregoire Trudeau had more than $1,400 in expenses paid for.

Marc admitted that Margaret Trudeau had not been hired by WE until Justin came to power in 2015.

Saying Margaret would help “increase brand recognition” Craig added “she’s more than someone’s mother, someone’s wife.”

The brothers admitted Tuesday Margaret had been paid $167,944 in expenses.

Poilievre asked for an exact amount the group has paid the Trudeaus – with the brothers saying they didn’t know but would provide details after the meeting.

NDP MP Peter Julian said he “wasn’t satisfied” with the hearing because questions “were not answered.”

In an opening statement, Craig admitted the charity had become “overly complex” and “misunderstood”.

He said because of the scandal WE faces “serious challenges that risk the entire organization.”

During testimony Craig told MPs the scandal has been “devastating” for the charity.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has announced that his office is investigating.

Alberta’s UCP government has severed ties with the charity as has several businesses including Telus and Virgin Airlines

Just last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau paid back $41,000 to WE for an exotic family holidays to Kenya and Ecuador.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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B.C. Liberals vow to cancel PST for one year; return at 3 per cent

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Andrew Wilkinson

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B.C. Liberals say, if elected, they will help the economy recover by removing the 7 per cent provincial sales tax for one year.

After a year, a Liberal government would set the PST at 3 per cent until the economy recovers.

The federal GST is currently 5 per cent.

“British Columbians have lost confidence in the direction of the province and the weak economic record of the NDP. B.C. families and small businesses need help now, which is why a B.C. Liberal government will immediately eliminate the PST for one year — saving you money right away, getting more people working, and bringing investment back to B.C.,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

“Countless people are still out of work, small businesses are facing bankruptcy, and the public health threat from COVID-19 is still very real.

“Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy.”

The Liberals say a family of four earning $60,000 per parent will save $1,714 in the first year, followed by an additional $979 in the second year. 

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Wilkinson.

B.C. residents go to the polls Oct. 24.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta on board with rail line from Alaska green-lit by Trump

“The Government of Alberta is glad to see to see the approval of the A2A rail project in the United States,” said spokeswoman Christine Myatt

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Provincial government officials say they are excited by a proposed Alaska-to-Alberta rail line to get goods to Asian markets.

Donald Trump gave the $22-billion project a presidential approval on Friday.

“Based on the strong recommendation of @SenDanSullivan and @repdonyoung of the Great State of Alaska, it is my honor to inform you that I will be issuing a Presidential Permit for the A2A Cross-Border Rail between Alaska & Canada. Congratulations to the people of Alaska & Canada!” the president tweeted Friday.

Officials with the A2A Railway said there needs to be three more years of planning and then three more for construction before the line from northern Alberta to tide water in Alaska starts to operate.

“The Government of Alberta is glad to see to see the approval of the A2A rail project in the United States,” said Christine Myatt, a spokeswoman for Premier Jason Kenney

“We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets for many of Alberta’s products including oil & gas, new mineral production and agriculture.”

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage tweeted the same statement.

A2A Rail vice chair Mead Treadwell said the so-called A2A Railway will succeed where others have failed, because markets are hungry for resources that Canada produces, but can’t export quickly enough to meet demand.

A2A proposed route

The company will start by constructing rail from North Pole, near Fairbanks, where the Alaska Railroad ends today. From there the railway will move south and east through Alaska, across into Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and into Alberta.

“It is approximately 1,600 miles, with roughly 200 miles of new track in Alaska, and the remaining 1,400 miles in western and northern Canada. We estimate our investment to be $15 billion CAD in Canada and another $7 billion CAD in Alaska,” said the company’s website.

“The port capacity and sometimes the rail capacity at other places in Canada are just so choked that there’s a potential market for a new port and a new method to get to Asian markets,” Treadwell said in an interview in August with KUAC.

“The Alaska Railroad right now runs 512 miles from Seward to North Pole we’re going to take that track and extend it 1500 miles to connect up with rail lines in Alberta,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said the the system will transport bitumen, potash, sulfur and grains.

“We believe we have a project which is competitive with pipeline and one of the reasons why it’s competitive is because its risks can spread over several different commodities,” he said.

Treadwell says if all goes according to plan, work on the project would begin within three years and be completed in six. 

The company said it will now begin an “extensive environmental impact assessment” (EIA) under Canadian legislation for the Yukon, B.C. and Alberta.

Company founder Sean McCoshen has already spent over $100 million USD through the pre-feasibility, feasibility, and detailed engineering phases of the project. 

A2A Rail has also started talks with Indigenous groups along the proposed path.

“The proposed route for the A2A Rail project includes portions of traditional, treaty and heritage lands of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States. A2A Rail has initiated dialogue with Indigenous Peoples along the proposed route to brief them on the project,” said the company.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Having children causes traffic jams, billboard warns

The strange reminders are courtesy from a group called World Population Balance who are concerned the growth of the world’s population is unsustainable.

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Vancouver drivers are being told that having fewer children would cut down on traffic jams.

The strange reminders are courtesy from a group called World Population Balance who are concerned the growth of the world’s population is unsustainable.

“The world is overpopulated. But a surprising number of journalists, elected officials, pundits and members of the public are unaware,” says the group on their website.

“This billboard campaign will raise public awareness of overpopulation, improve everyone’s knowledge on the subject, and serve as a demonstration model that jump-starts a global campaign to speed progress toward a ‘small family norm.'”

Before putting up the billboards in Vancouver, they erected two billboards in Minneapolis and another between Denver and Colorado Springs.

“Human overpopulation is present in Vancouver just as it is in most parts of the world. Everyone around the world needs to be aware of this crisis, because we all have a role to play in resolving it,” said the group.

“While Vancouver occupies an area of about 2,800 square kilometers, its footprint (the area of the planet required to provide food, water and other resources, and to process the waste) is 36 times that.

“Reducing overconsumption can help Vancouver get back into sustainable equilibrium, but contracting population also must be part of the equation. Cities like Vancouver need to rethink their economic development strategies, ceasing to pursue population growth, and begin to celebrate the trend of more couples choosing smaller families.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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