MPs on ethics committee to meet amid parliamentary probe of WE agreement


OTTAWA — MPs on the House of Commons ethics committee will meet this afternoon to push forward their own parliamentary probe of the federal government’s aborted deal with WE Charity to run a student-volunteer program.

The committee is seeking documents on the speaking fees the charity paid to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immediate family, which amount to some $300,000 plus expenses.

Opposition MPs, who outnumber Liberals, have also used their numbers to ask Trudeau to testify before the ethics committee as part of its work.

Trudeau is set to testify tomorrow at the House of Commons finance committee about the events that led to his cabinet’s asking WE Charity to oversee a program that provides grants to students and graduates for volunteering if they couldn’t find work in the pandemic-slowed economy this summer.

The ethics committee is meeting separately to look into the conflict-of-interest safeguards around government spending decisions.

The Liberals budgeted $912 million for the student-volunteer program, but only agreed to pay a maximum of $543 million to WE: about $43.5 million in administration fees to the group and the remainder to be spent on the grants.

On Tuesday, WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger told the finance committee that they expected the program to cost up to $300 million.