Canadian opposition calls for criminal probe of PM's ties to charity group

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 11, 2020
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OTTAWA, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The Canadian opposition Conservative Party on Friday called for a criminal investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to hand almost a billion-dollar program to a charity group, which reportedly paid his family a large amount of money for their speaking at charity events.

"Not only did Justin Trudeau not recuse himself from the decision to hand almost a billion dollars to WE Charity, we know now that the organization paid his family almost $300,000. It is clear that a criminal investigation is warranted. As such, Conservatives will be writing to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to encourage them pursue this case," said the opposition in a statement.

The Conservative Party alleged that Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act that "prohibits public office holders from making any decision or participating in the making of a decision that furthers their private interests or improperly furthers the private interests of another person."

The call came a day after media reported that WE Charity had financial dealings with Trudeau's family members.

Trudeau's mother and brother have reportedly been paid a total of 282,000 Canadian dollars (about 207,610 U.S. dollars) to appear at WE Charity events, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

CTV reported that Trudeau's wife received 1,400 Canadian dollars for participating in a WE Charity event in 2012, before Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party. She currently hosts a podcast for the charity group.

Trudeau and his government have been under fire since the charity was announced as the manager of the Canada Student Service Grant program.

Canadian Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion announced last week that he was investigating into a possible breach of federal conflict of interest act by Trudeau after his government's decision to award the WE Charity the contract to administer a summer student grant program of 900 million Canadian dollars.

In a statement, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh said Friday that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the trio of Trudeau's family members are "more than disturbing," and illustrate a "pattern of behavior."

Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet called on the prime minister to "step aside" until the completion of the ethics commissioner investigation.

WE Charity announced last week that it was pulling out of administering the program.

Some 35,000 students and recent graduates have applied for the program, which connects them with volunteering opportunities in exchange for payments of between 1,000 and 5,000 Canadian dollars, depending on the number of hours worked. Enditem

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