On September 9th, brothers and disgraced co-founders of the WE Charity, Marc and Craig Kielburger, announced that the organization would be ceasing operations in Canada, following a nationwide scandal that forced former Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign as member of parliament.
While this notice was not all that shocking, what came as a surprise was the rationalization that WE Charity provided. The charity first mentioned that "COVID-19 disrupted every aspect of our work." WE Charity then proceeded to state:
"The fallout from the Canada Student Service Grant has placed us, as a charity, in the middle of political battles and misinformation that we are ill-equipped to fight."
WE Charity concluded by affirming that by closing operations, it will adequately catalogue as much as they can for the benefit of Canadians. To date, the Kielburger brothers failed to acknowledge their fault for the dissolution, as they continue to point fingers elsewhere.
Lorne Gunter recently interviewed the Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, where she could only describe this scandal as "shocking." LaGrange did what any Albertan in her position would and severed ties with the WE Charity after hearing this news.
This revoked contract was a three-year, $750,000 deal to bring programs and rallies to Alberta students. Unfortunately, there has been no word if she will disallow separate school boards from dealing with WE, but with the closure of operations, it seems she will not have to make that call.
According to LaGrange, Alberta's good news is that "no dollars went to WE in 2019," and WE will not receive anything for 2020 either. Although Alberta has cut ties with WE alongside numerous other provinces and businesses, many citizens want to know the truth.
The Alberta Institute, a think tank based in Calgary, has also criticized the WE Charity for being a deeply rooted political organization that has regularly received taxpayer money and used it to advocate for their political agendas.
“Charities are supposed to deliver vital services to people in need, not political speeches,” said Alberta Institute President, Peter McCaffrey.
Additionally, the Alberta Institute has been tirelessly advocating for provincial and federal governments to stop giving taxpayer money to groups so openly involved with political activities that lobby the government. They called on both the federal and Alberta provincial governments to stop giving taxpayer money to all charities like this.
To date, limited information has been provided about why Trudeau was doing this Canada Student Service Grant with WE.
NDP Member of Parliament Charlie Angus mentioned that "the charity had financial problems before getting into the deal." He then stated that the WE Charity was making a desperate attempt to secure a mammoth contract to stay afloat financially.
Given the negligence on display, over the better part of a month, the scandal continues to question the prime minister's ability to govern appropriately, who has a history of committing ethics violations and not being forthcoming outright when wrongdoing was plausible.