Justin Trudeau’s mother, brother and wife were paid nearly $300,000 over the years for speaking engagements for a Canadian charity at the centre of a political firestorm engulfing the prime minister after he awarded the NGO a lucrative contract to administer a $912-million student grant program.
In a response to an inquiry from CBC News, WE Charity has provided details of the speaking fees paid to Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, and brother, Alexandre, for their participation at events between 2016 and 2020.
Both Margaret and Alexandre are registered with the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau, which arranges appearances for clients in exchange for negotiated fees, according to a report by Janyce McGregor of CBC News.
Margaret spoke at approximately 28 events and received honoraria amounting to $250,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000.
CTV News reported that Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who hosts a podcast for the group called “WE Well-being” received a “one-time speaking honorarium” of $1,400 for participating in a youth event in 2012 before Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party.
The charity said Grégoire Trudeau’s involvement as an “Ambassador and Ally” has been “entirely on a volunteer basis and travel expenses related to this involvement were paid for by WE Charity.”
Prime Minister Trudeau and his minority Liberal government have been under fire since announcing on June 25 they were awarding a $19.5 million sole-source contract to WE Charity to administer the Canada Student Service Grant.
The grant program will provide up to $5,000 in one-time payments to post-secondary students and recent graduates for volunteering in pandemic-related programs, depending on the number of hours worked.
Following public outcry over the sole-source contract, the WE Charity and the federal government announced on July 3 that they were ending the partnership.
On the same day, Canada’s Ethics Commissioner announced that his office is launching an investigation into a possible breach of federal conflict of interest laws by Trudeau over his decision to award the WE Charity the contract to administer the federal student grant program.
Prime Minister Trudeau admitted to reporters earlier this week that he did not recuse himself from cabinet discussions that led to the decision to award the contract to WE Charity.
With files by Janyce McGregor of CBC News