Yet again, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has found his ethical standards subjected to public scrutiny.
Thursday, while testifying before the parliamentary finance committee, Trudeau proclaimed his innocence of any malfeasance in the awarding to WE Charity the management of a budgeted $912 million for the Canada Student Service Grant, with $543.5 million set by the contribution agreement as a spending maximum.
Simultaneously and for the third time during his tenure, this prime minister has become the focus of the parliamentary Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. And on this occasion, the probe is directly related to the WE Charity contract.
In previous investigations, Trudeau was found to have violated ethics rules in the PMO/SNC Lavalin/Jody Wilson-Raybould scandal, as well as a 2016 visit by the prime minister and his family and friends to the Aga Khan’s private Bahamas island.
In the case of the 2016 visit, Trudeau suggested he saw no conflict of interest in the visit to the private island of a family friend, omitting that the Aga Khan Foundation is registered as a lobbyist to the Canadian government and that records indicate the foundation was in receipt of some $47 million from the government in 2016.
As far as Jody Wilson-Raybould is concerned, the former minister of justice and attorney general — and once-celebrated star of the Trudeau cabinet — became a danger to the prime minister when, while testifying before the parliamentary justice committee, she revealed she had been bullied and pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office. She said she was shuffled out of her role as attorney general on Jan. 14, 2019, because she refused to cut SNC-Lavalin a deal to avoid a criminal trial.
Wilson-Raybould was additionally denied by the then Liberal-dominated committee the right to proceed with her public request to present more under oath testimony about being subjected to unrelenting pressure from PMO staffers to directly dissuade independent federal prosecutors from proceeding with criminal charges against SNC-Lavalin.
IPSOS polling at the time had confirmed 67 per cent of Canadians considered Wilson-Raybould’s truth to be rock-solid, vis-a-vis 33 per cent who placed their faith in Trudeau’s mobile version of events.
Today, not only is Trudeau under investigation by the parliamentary Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner over the federal government’s WE Charity contract, but so too is federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. The initial investigation into Morneau has been broadened to include the minister’s admission that he only days ago repaid WE Charity some $41,366 in 2017 travel expenses.
Trudeau’s ethical baggage further includes the case of decorated, 30-year military veteran and Canadian Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. The vice-admiral bucked the federal cabinet, did his job, and assured the on-time and on-budget delivery of a desperately needed Royal Canadian Navy supply ship, HM Asterix, the first such ship delivered in nearly half-a-century.
Without HM Asterix, the Canadian navy would have been unable to perform its obligations on the global stage and would have been limited to a compromised coastal defence role.
Furious, Trudeau twice mused publicly that Norman would see the inside of a courtroom before a criminal charge was actually laid and then and eventually stayed, arguably denying the former second-in-command of the CAF the right to a fair trial.
Add in the fact Canadians learned through Global News during last year’s federal election campaign that Trudeau had, on at least three occasions, publicly appeared in blackface and brownface — a fact Trudeau withheld even from the Liberal Party of Canada at the time of his vetting as a suitable candidate.
To this date, the prime minister has steadfastly refused to confirm such appearances were limited to the three occasions of which we are aware.
Fallout was inevitable.
On Oct. 21, 2019, Canadian voters refused to grant Trudeau a second majority government term, instead returning the Liberals to minority status with the lowest popular vote percentage for a winning federal party in the history of Canada.
Now we await the result of the latest investigation of Trudeau by the parliamentary Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
This is not good for Trudeau, it’s not good for the Liberal Party, and it’s not good for Canada.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.