The prime minister has issued a formal apology, following his involvement in the WE Charity controversy. Trudeau apologized for failing to remove himself from discussions about the organization, which has caused the government’s student volunteering program to be halted. “I made a mistake,” he admitted.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, July 13, the PM acknowledged his involvement in the recent WE Charity controversy.
"I made a mistake in not recusing myself immediately from the discussions, given our family's history, and I'm sincerely sorry about not having done that," he began.
The ongoing controversy led the charity to withdraw from the federal program, leaving students unable to volunteer through the service at this time.
Trudeau said he was "particularly sorry," for this.
“Not only has it created unnecessary controversy and issues, it also means that young people who are facing a difficult time … are going to have to wait a little longer before getting those opportunities to serve,” he said.
“That’s frustrating,” the PM acknowledged.
Responding to questions from reporters, Trudeau admitted that he knew of his family’s involvement with WE Charity, and said he was “not surprised” that they were paid for their engagements.
That said, he maintains that he did not know exactly how much they had earned.
“I made a mistake in not recusing myself immediately from the discussions given our family’s history and I’m sincer… https://t.co/YzqK8W0xL1— Power & Politics (@Power & Politics) 1594655436.0
Trudeau has been at the centre of the controversy surrounding the $900-million Canada Student Service Grant, which was awarded to an organization called WE Charity.
The decision to use this particular organization has come under fire because it has close links to Trudeau and his immediate family, both on a personal and financial level.
The PM’s brother, mother and wife have been paid a combined total of around $300,000 for personal engagements with the charity.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is also an ambassador for WE Charity, and hosts her podcast under its name.
The People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier blasted the Trudeau family’s involvement in the controversy, taking particular aim at Trudeau’s mom.
“What has Margaret Trudeau achieved in life to warrant being paid $250k to give a few pep talks to kids, apart from marrying a prime minister and being the mother of another?” he asked.
What has Margaret Trudeau achieved in life to warrant being paid $250k to give a few pep talks to kids, apart from… https://t.co/jksViGFWzT— Maxime Bernier (@Maxime Bernier) 1594604190.0
The federal government’s ethics watchdog continues to investigate the matter, and will ultimately decide whether Trudeau officially violated conflict-of-interest rules.