The UNIS charity “has not received preferential treatment,” according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Passing in front of the Standing Committee on Finance of the House of Commons, Thursday, the elected Liberal said to have first “resisted” the choice of UNIS to manage a program of $ 900 million – the Canada scholarship for student volunteering.
Riddled with questions from opposition groups, Mr. Trudeau recalled that it was “the Canadian public service” which endorsed the contract awarded to the charity, which over the years paid members of his family. and his Minister of Finance.
He maintained that he was not notified until May 8 of the choice of public service. “I did nothing to influence” the decision, thundered the Prime Minister, arguing that he “resisted” before addressing it in a cabinet meeting.
Mr. Trudeau argues that he would have preferred to see the Service jeunesse Canada, a government agency, administer the scholarship. “When I heard that we were recommended UNIS, I had questions,” he said.
Mr. Trudeau and his Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, are in hot water for having approved the signing of a $ 19.5 million contract with the organization UNIS. Opposition in Ottawa accuse the two politicians of “conflicts of interest”.
The Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party have also called for the resignation of the two elected Liberals.
“No friendship” with the Kielburger
Mr. Trudeau testified two days later the appearance of brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger before the Committee, the founders of UNIS, also known as WE Charity.
Asked about his personal links with UNIS headliners, the Prime Minister said he had only met the Kielburger brothers “at public events”.
“I never spoke to the Kielburger brothers” between the time the Exchange was created and the time the public service was recommended, “Trudeau said.
Last week, Minister Morneau also testified before the same committee. He then revealed that he had received funding of $ 41,000 from UNIS during trips to Kenya and Ecuador.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister said he was “not particularly” aware of the existence of Mr. Morneau’s travel expenses. He did know, however, that his wife Sophie Grégoire had seen his trip to a UNIS event in London funded by the organization.