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PM Justin Trudeau is in trouble again, this time over a charity scandal



In February 2019 there were calls for Justin Trudeau to resign over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Later in 2019 he faced an embarrassing blackface scandal. But he somehow survived both scandals, though his party took a hit. Now Trudeau is in trouble again, this time over a charity scandal and there are once again calls from the opposition for him to resign:

Trudeau’s trouble began building momentum a few weeks ago after his government announced the deal to pay WE Charity up to C$43 million to administer a C$912-million student grant program as part of Canada’s Covid-19 response. The group works on international development projects and classroom programs, mostly in the U.S. and Canada, that teach youth about civic engagement.

The public and parliamentary reaction in Canada to the news and further revelations of speaking fees and travel expenses paid to family members of Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been swift and harsh.

That’s the big picture but it’s really the obvious exchange of benefits between Trudeau and this ostensibly independent charity. Writing in the Washington Post, opinion columnist J.J. McCullough describes what it was like attending an event put on by this charity:

When I went to one of the “WE Day” rallies in Vancouver two years ago, I found the speakers’ lineup almost explicitly designed to aggravate anyone not aligned with the “natural governing party.” Among a gaggle of actors and musicians, I heard from the city’s progressive mayor, longtime Canadian Broadcasting Corp. anchor Peter Mansbridge and the prime minister’s wife and mother. Geared toward grade-school children, the afternoon bore the prerequisite veneer of youthful populism yet felt more like a venue for allies of the government to push their vision of the proper order of things on the next generation. Debatable liberal doctrines on everything from immigration to gun control, indigenous rights and the environment were casually presented as self-evidently correct; the kids cheered supportively…

The WE scandal is a monument to Trudeau’s obliviousness, but also the arrogance of a progressive Canadian establishment that has long assumed its politics are non-partisan. We now know WE never even bothered to register as a lobbyist before pitching policy ideas to the government. Through its connection to a bumbling prime minister, WE’s vast charity-industrial complex — what Brian Lilley calls “Kielburger Inc.” — has been exposed as just one more tool through which a haughty network of Canadian politicians, activists and media personalities collect state subsidies and push their worldview while imagining it’s neutral community service.

In 2017, this charity even produced a glossy, campaign style advertisement which basically made Trudeau the voice of Canada’s future.