Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hammered before the Finance Committee that he did not press for preferential treatment to United. On the contrary, he claims to have demanded more checks.
“Neither I nor my staff have tried to dictate the directive issued by the public service to recommend the UNIS organization,” insisted the Prime Minister.
Trudeau said he learned that the Canada Student Volunteer Grant program would be handed over to UNIS on May 8, after the ministerial committee on COVID decided to call on the organization.
He added that he never spoke to his staff about the government’s contribution agreement with UNIS until May 8, nor spoke to the co-founders of the organization.
He also pleaded that “acting slowly would have been as bad as doing nothing at all.” “The government had to be flexible. ”
Justin Trudeau says he doesn’t have a personal relationship with the Kielburger brothers, co-founders of UNIS. He admits having rubbed shoulders with them at public events.
Trudeau did not “particularly know”
The Prime Minister said he was “not particularly aware” that Minister Bill Morneau had traveled with UNIS. “But I’m not surprised,” he said, because Mr. Morneau “is involved in many causes”.
Mr. Trudeau added that he knew that one of Minister Morneau’s daughters had made plans with UNIS, but not that Mr. Morneau’s other daughter worked for the organization.
As for his wife Sophie Grégoire, the ethics commissioner had authorized her to volunteer with UNIS and to be reimbursed for her expenses, Mr. Trudeau insisted.
Further details will follow.