News of Justin Trudeau’s failure to recluse himself from any discussions involving WE Charity couldn’t have come at a worse time for the country, or the prime minister.
As thousands of Canadians struggle through the financial implications related to COVID-19, news cycles continue to feature the man in charge of leading the country accused of awarding a $900 million contract to the same charity that has paid several members of his family for numerous speaking engagements.
WE Charity has confirmed Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, has been paid approximately $250,000 for speaking at 28 events between 2016 and this year. The prime minister’s brother, Alexandre and wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau have all been paid for public appearances by the charity as well. Early last week word broke that Finance Minister Bill Morneau would also be facing an investigation from an ethics commission for his role in awarding the contract to WE Charity after news broke his daughter has done contract work for the organization while another daughter has spoken at events hosted by the charity.
The Liberals have since cancelled the contract and the prime minister and finance minister have since apologized-but the damage has been done. The investigation will continue to drag on, ensuring that every other day the taxpayers are reminded of yet another scandal involving the current government. The SNC-Lavalin scandal nearly cost Trudeau the last election and most certainly played a big role in seeing the Liberals goo from a majority government in 2015 to squeaking in as a minority the last time around.
Prior to the WE Charity scandal, it appeared the Liberals had made up a major portion of the ground they lost from their last major gaffe. CBC political poll analyst Éric Grenier, who correctly predicted the previous election outcome, had noted the Liberals were enjoying a huge boost in support following what many viewed as a good job of handling the COVID-19 pandemic. So much so that if a hypothetical election had been held at the end of last month, the Liberals would have soared back to a bigger majority than the one they enjoyed in 2015. Of course, all polls should always be taken with a grain of salt. It also doesn’t factor in how annoyed the public may be if the Liberals were to call another election so soon. There’s a common belief that another election is the last thing many Canadians want right now.
And then of course, there’s the latest scandal to factor in as well. The Conservatives will want to make sure it gets mentioned as much as possible as they try to win back support that-according to polls anyway-has leaked away in the months since October’s election. It doesn’t help that their current lame duck leader, Andrew Scheer, has been ousted as leader by his own party following an ethics scandal involving his own family, namely using party funds to pay for his kids’ private school education. The pandemic dragging out the divorce of Scheer from the party leadership likely isn’t helping either.
The next leader of the official opposition won’t be decided until late August. At which point they’ll be tasked with drumming up public outrage over the WE Charity scandal that will be several weeks old-though at this rate, some may be wondering if there may be more ethical skeletons still in the Liberal’s closet.