With so much going on in the political world at the moment, it can be hard to keep up. So what is the alleged ‘WE charity scandal’?

News outlets such as CBC Canada and the New York Times have reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire for a contract he had given to WE

As repored by the BBC, the contract was designed to help students and recent graduates earn money after the coronavirus pandemic by volunteering,

However, it has been claimed that the PM allegedly has family links to the group, which he had not previously disclosed, despite an apology about the contract.

Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Explained: What is the alleged WE charity scandal?

  • The alleged scandal involves PM Justin Trudeau’s links to WE and a contract that the charity was given to run the government’s student grant scheme. 

It occurred after WE were given an alleged $19.5m contract to administer a $900m student grant program in Canada, as reported by Chatelaine.

The program would see students and graduates under 30 years old volunteering up to 500 hours in order to earn up to $5,000 during the pandemic.

Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images

However, Chatelaine reports that many groups questioned how it was decided that WE were the right charity for the job.

WE was formed to raise awareness about child labour by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger in 1995 under the name Free The Children. 

Why is Prime Minister Trudeau under fire? What are his links to the We charity? 

Trudeau’s family has several links with the organisation and has spoken at events for the charity in the past.

His wife Sophie has also spoken at events and in addition runs a podcast called WE Well-being for the charity, as reported by CBC.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for WE Day

The Prime Minister’s brother and mother, Margaret, are also reported to have links. It was recently alleged by CTV News that Margaret was paid $250,000 for 28 appearances.

And it’s not just the Trudeaus. According to Global News, Canada’s finance minister Bill Morneau’s daughter also works at WE.

In addition, and although he’s now repaid the debt, Morneau’s family took trips worth $41,000 and paid for by WE, according to reports by Global News.

What is expected to happen next in the WE charity scandal?

The New York Times claim that an ethics investigation was launched by Commissioner Mario Dion on July 3rd and Trudeau has already virtually appeared.

He is investigating Trudeau under subsection 6 (1) of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Act and sections 7 and 21.

These look at prohibiting public office holders from making decisions that further their own private interests and failing to recuse themselves from conflicts of interests.

After the scandal was first reported, Trudeau announced the government would control the student volunteer and grant scheme, not WE charity.

He and finance minister Morneau have also apologised for not revealing their family’s links to WE.

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