Canadian PM to appear before parliamentary committee over $674m grant programme

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will appear before a parliamentary committee on July 30, over a government’s $674 million dollar (N256.7 billion) student grant programme.

Specifically, Trudeau will answer questions on the government’s decision to pick a charity linked to his family to implement the $674 million dollar (N256.7 billion) programme.

In a statement on July 27, the Finance Committee of the House of Commons, said the prime minister would appear before it at 3 p.m. on July 30.

It said his Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, would join him at 4:15 p.m.

According to local media reports, it is rare for prime ministers to testify before parliamentary committees in the North American country.

The last time it happened was in 2006 when the then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, appeared at 1 p.m. to speak about Senate reform, reports the National Post.

The statement said Trudeau’s scheduled testimony followed his investigation for possible conflict of interest in the programme.

This is the third ethics probe he has faced in three years, according to the paper.

The prime minister has reportedly already apologised publicly for participating in the Cabinet decision to pick WE Charity Canada to manage the grant programme.

The organisation is said to have backed out shortly after the programme was announced.

Canada’s ethics commissioner launched the investigation after WE Charity disclosed that it had paid Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, $250,000 Canadian dollars (N72.6 million) in speaking fees in recent years.

The charity said it also paid the prime minister’s brother, Alexandre, about 32,000 Canadian dollars (N9.2 million).

Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, have regularly participated in WE Charity events, according to the report, while Sophie hosts a podcast on the organisation’s website.

The Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has also apologised for taking part in the same Cabinet vote because one of his daughters works at WE Charity, according to National Post.

 

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