Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted on Monday that he “made a mistake” in not recusing himself “immediately” from discussions about whether WE Charity should administer a federal student grant program.
Trudeau said he should have done so given his immediate family’s relationship and financial ties to the WE organization.
During a scheduled news conference in Ottawa, the prime minister apologized for not having stepped away from the decision to award the now-cancelled contract to manage the $900-million Canada Student Service Grant.
“I‘m sincerely sorry (for) not having done that,” Trudeau said.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t — particularly sorry, because not only has it created unnecessary controversy and issues, it also means that young people who are facing a difficult time right now getting summer jobs, contributing to their communities, are going to have to wait a little longer before getting those opportunities to serve. And that’s frustrating.”
Controversy over WE Charity’s contract has dominated debate on Parliament Hill for weeks. It was additionally fuelled last week with news that several of Trudeau’s close relatives have been paid large sums by a WE affiliate to speak at WE events.
The federal ethics watchdog is investigating whether the prime minister violated conflict-of-interest rules in the matter.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.