“This is an unacceptable use of government money – the Ethics Commissioner needs to be empowered to prevent politicians from using Canadian taxpayers money to line the pockets of political insiders and their family and friends.
"The Liberals have spent the last year trying to cover up their corruption, hiding from the Ethics committee and then fired former Finance Minister Bill Morneau for his role in the We Charity scandal. It is time to clean up the mess and end the abuse by insiders.
“The Ethics Committee report released today shows just how comfortable the Liberals are with unethical and corrupt behavior.”
These are the words of MP Arnold Viersen (Peace River – Westlock) concerning the latest revelation about the WE scandal.
Recent revelations have now revealed that the organization improperly issuing donation receipts of $1.8 million in connection with so-called “WE Day” events – events held by the charity in cities around the world to celebrate student volunteer efforts. There was no charge to students or other supporters who attended. WE Charity's website described the events as “star-studded,” featuring celebrity speakers and other entertainment.
As a result of this, donors may have enjoyed tax savings of up to $800,000. The Financial Post reports that "the disputed tax receipts represent more than five per cent of all receipts issued by the charity during the period."
MP Michael Barrett, the Conservative ethics critic , described the behaviour as more dishonesty the part of the Liberal government.
"The report outlines in detail how Prime Minister Trudeau gave a half-billion [dollar] contract to the WE organization, an organization run by well-connected Liberals who paid Mr. Trudeau's family members over a half million dollars in fees and expenses," he said.
Barrett then called for Canada's rules on lobbying and conflicts of interest to be strengthened.
Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan responded by describing opposition MPs as restorting opposition tactics.
"Unfortunately, the numerous tactics used by the opposition members ... both (inside) and outside of committee work, stalled the completion of this study, subjected individuals to personal and material damages and undermined the credibility and the role of our independent commissioners," she said. "Indeed, it was the public harassment and violent threats against witnesses called to testify for this study that were especially troubling."
In turn, NDP MP Charlie Angus has stated that the WE scandal was driven by an absence of checks and balances .
"This report is about what happens when friends of the government, Liberal insiders, get access where they shouldn't have access," he said.
Angus proceeded to call for tougher conflict of interest laws and more power for public servants to vet organizations.
"You have to wonder and ask yourself in Canada, what does it take to actually be found guilty of breaching the lobbying act in 2021?" he said.
The full report can be found here: Questions Of Conflict Of Interest And Lobbying In Relation To Pandemic Spending (ourcommons.ca)