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WE scandal: Ministers, public servant defend decision to contract out $912M student grant program

CA, 12 Aug 2020
Two federal cabinet ministers, the country’s top public servant and a former ethics commissioner were brought before the House of Commons ethics committee on Tuesday to answer questions on how WE Charity, which has close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wound up administering a $912-million student grant program.

Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart said Tuesday that the public service was run down by the amount of work that needed to be done in regards to the different programs being administered amid the coronavirus pandemic, and said they warned the Auditor General that “there would be mistakes.”

He added that he’s seen “no evidence” to date that WE Charity would not have been able to administer the Canada Student Grant program.

MPs also sparred with ministers Bardish Chagger and Carla Qualtrough. MP Pierre Poilievre went so far as to state that Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough’s claim that the student grant program was different from the Canada Summer Jobs program was “not credible.”

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