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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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Edmonton homeless protesters vow to stay until changes made

Security is handled by The Crazy Indian Brotherhood, some who are former gang members looking to better themselves.

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A group of Edmonton protesters have set up their own version of Seattle’s CHAZ – and vow not to move until their demands are met.

At last count, 172 tents have sprung up in the Edmonton neighbourhood of Rossdale, frustrating both community residents and police.

Edmonton city administrations said currently about 300 people live there permanently.

The group, there since July 24, has demanded $39 million be taken out of the Edmonton Police Service budget, and end to police violence against the homeless and free transit for everyone.

But in an Edmonton council meeting Thursday, administration said “we are not negotiating on any of their demands.

The camp came about after the province decided to stop pandemic work with the homeless at the EXPO and Kinsmen centres, displacing many of the homeless.

Residents have named their camp Pekiwewin meaning “coming home” in Cree.

The area is reminiscent of the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle where hundreds of residents took over a six sq. block area following rioting after the death of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

CHAZ was lawless for weeks and saw two homicides before police finally moved in to reclaim the area.

A sign on the Pekiwewin camp entrance reads: “This is neutral territory. Any violence and you will be asked to leave.”

They have a kitchen and a medical tent that also supplies safe injection materials.

Security is handled by The Crazy Indian Brotherhood, some who are former gang members looking to better themselves.

On July 31, organizers called 911 after a trans, two-spirit member of the camp was assaulted and left with life-threatening injuries

City officials are helping with garbage pick-up and portable toilets.

But tensions do seem to be rising as many neighbours have hired their own private security guards who patrol the area. Passing motorists have thrown bottles into the camp.

The area for hundreds of years has served as an Aboriginal burial ground.

Opponents to the camp have argued homeless shelters in the city have more than enough capacity to handle all the residents.

Administration has said staff will allow the camp to stay open, provided there are no COVID-19 outbreaks, violent incidents or weather emergencies.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Tories to try and stop Trudeau’s pay as PM’s vacay days climb

PM has already taken 48 holiday in 2020. In 2019 he took 91.

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After taking 48 holiday days already in 2020, the Tories will try and stop Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pay until he shows back up for work.

It comes after 2019, when Trudeau took a whopping 91 days off.

“Parliament should suspend Trudeau’s pay until he comes to work. I introduced a motion to that effect at Finance Committee (Thursday). The chair tried to shut it down. I will bring it back,” said Tory MP Pierre Pollievre.

Tofino

“Whereas his absence meant he could not answer questions about his $500 million grant to a group that had paid his family more than $500,000 in fees and expenses,” Pollievre’s motion read.

“Whereas the Prime Minister has taken off 20 days in six weeks – meaning half the calendar days have been days off.

“The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance calls on the government to suspend the Prime Minister’s pay until he returns to work and takes questions in Parliament.”

Costa Rica and Vancouver, Whistler and Tofino seem to be the favourite vation spots for Trudeua.

This week, Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun reported RCMP boats had been spotted in the waters off Pointe au Baril, in Ontario cottage country.

The PMO finally confirmed Trudeau was staying with friends in the area.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Liberals will turn to private sector to organize gun confiscation program

A Canadian firearms expert said the buying back of now-prohibited firearms could end up costing up to $5-billion.

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Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is looking for a private organization to come up with ideas how their gun confiscation program will work after banning more than 1,500 “assault-style weapons.”

Public Safety Canada has invited 15 consulting firms to come up with a range of options and approaches for the planned program to compensate gun owners.

It’s expected any plan will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

A spokeswoman for Public Safety Canada said options that emerge from the selected contractor “may be incorporated into a final program. Costs will be available once a provider is selected.”

Pubic Safety said any plan would would require the successful bidder to consult with other federal agencies, possibly other levels of government and industry experts to devise options that include compensation plans for each affected firearm, analysis of benefits and risks associated with each compensation model and the identification of “other considerations” that might affect the feasibility of each approach.

The first phase of the work is expected to be complete by the end of March. 

The invited bidders include well-known firms such as Deloitte, IBM Canada, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, though Public Safety has not ruled out other entries.

Trudeau’s Liberal government announced in May they are banning 1,500 different makes and models of what he called “military-style” and “assault-style” guns in Canada.

The ban comes into effect immediately and was ordered by the cabinet without any bill or debate in Parliament.

In response to the federal order, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the province will look at appointing its own firearms officer.

A Canadian firearms expert said the Trudeau Liberal government’s plan to buy buy recently prohibited firearms from Canadian gun owners could end up costing up to $5-billion.

Gary Mauser, Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, said whatever plan the Liberals come up with will likely end up being a billion-dollar boondoggle.

“Minister (Bill) Blair claimed the cost for the “buy back” of roughly 250,000 firearms would be between $400 million and $600 million—$375 million for the guns and presumably the rest for overhead. That is, if owners comply,” Mauser wrote in a January blog, published before the firearms ban was announced.

“However, the actual full cost of the ‘buy back’ won’t be $600 million; it will be much more.

“Focusing on reimbursement costs is misleading because it ignores the biggest expense—staffing costs. Prohibiting and confiscating an estimated 250,000 firearms is a complex undertaking and would involve considerable government resources. It’s impossible to do with current police resources.”

Gary Mauser

Mauser wrote that if everything went according to plan for setting up the infrastructure to buy back weapons could be up to $2.7 billion.

“Based on these assumptions, confiscating 250,000 firearms would cost the Canadian taxpayer between $1.6 billion to almost $5 billion in the first year. This estimate excludes travel costs and any ministerial administrators,” he wrote.

“Remember, this is just part of the costs to taxpayers for the “buy back.” These estimates do not include the $600 million the government promises to pay owners who surrender their firearms.”

Numerous lawsuits have been filed to try and stop the gun grab.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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