LILLEY: Trudeau appears to have used WE language when announcing student deal

claims he never heard of the involvement of WE Charity in a student program until May 8, despite the fact his government appears to have used similar language to the WE Charity on April 22.

Trudeau announced a $9 billion program to help students on April 22, a plan that would eventually include the contract worth up to $912 million with WE for a student service grant.

As part of the announcement the government said they would launch the “I Want to Help” platform to “provide helpful information about available service opportunities and ways to get involved and support efforts of young Canadians to pursue service positions.”

That platform became the website, which had been registered on Aug. 10, 2019. The website used to register the web address was, the same website used to register several websites associated with WE and the Kielburger brothers.

The revelation blows apart the Trudeau government’s claim that WE was not involved early on and that the civil service and not political staff selected the organization to deliver the student grant program.

The “I Want to Help” language and discussion of a platform using that language was released by the government on April 22 through a Finance Canada document.

Despite that, both the Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff Katie Telford told the House of Commons Finance Committee on Thursday that they knew nothing of the involvement of WE Charity until May 8 — more than two weeks after Trudeau’s announcement of the program and the use of the WE Charity language.

Trudeau and Telford also denied there was any conflict of interest in the awarding of the contract to WE.

In fact, Trudeau said the decision was not a question of whether to have WE Charity deliver the program but whether WE would deliver the program at all or whether there would be a program at all.

“This was a binary choice,” said Trudeau. “It was a choice on whether to proceed with this program to support students this summer in connecting them with their communities or not.”

Trudeau maintained he had never heard of WE Charity being involved with the Canada Student Service Grant until May 8 even though WE had been given the go ahead to begin spending on this file by May 5.

The problem is that between early 2016 and early 2020, ’s mother was paid more than $312,00 in speaking fees and $167,944 in travel and other expenses to speak at WE Days and other associated events.

Trudeau though never saw his giving a massive contract to a charity he was closely tied to as being a problem. In fact, he denied he was ever in a conflict of interest.

According to the details provided by WE themselves, they were pitching Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Small Business Minister Mary Ng and Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger by early April in relation to a youth entrepreneurship program.

By May 5, WE began to incur expenses in relation to the program even though Trudeau said he didn’t hear about the involvement of WE until May 8.

Trudeau also claimed on May 8 he asked that the decision be put off due to his personal involvement with the group.

Despite the involvement of himself, his family, the involvement of his finance minister and more, Trudeau said he did not recuse himself from the decision to approve the WE contract two weeks after the charity began working on the contract.

Time and again, Trudeau said this was solely a decision of the non-partisan civil service despite the fact that WE had pitched several senior ministers and political staffers to get a contract.

“The public service themselves made the recommendation that we had to go with WE Charity and I was not involved,” Trudeau said.

The claim that the professional public service, as Trudeau likes to call them, would voluntarily outsource their jobs to a charity aligned with the prime minister stretches all credulity.

The idea that the PM would make this announcement, that a news release attached to it would use language and eventually direct to a website registered by WE without him knowing is even harder to believe.

Trudeau and his team might be stretching for plausible deniability but I for one am not buying it.

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