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Dan-in-Ottawa

WE have a problem

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized this week for not having recused himself from a cabinet decision where he was in conflict of interest.

The cabinet awarded a sole-sourced, $900-million program to be administered by WE charity, which has close ties to the Prime Minister’s family.

It has been revealed members of the Prime Minister’s family received financial payments from WE Charity.

As you may have also heard, the Ethics Commissioner announced an investigation relating to Prime Minister Trudeau’s involvement in this decision.

This would make the third time that the Ethics Commissioner has investigated Prime Minister Trudeau.

The purpose of my report this week is not to question the Prime Minister’s judgment, his apology or the ethics investigation, but rather the decision to outsource the program as many of its details are deeply concerning.

Many Canadians will know that, for decades now, the Canada Summer Jobs program has successfully matched students with employers and, for the most part, has been successfully and efficiently administered by the Government of Canada public service.

The only major complaint over the years has been a lack of funds to meet the all of the requests of potential employers.

Rather than increase funding by $900 million to the Canada Summer Student Jobs program and increase the mandate to include charities and not-for-profit organizations, the Trudeau Liberals came up with a different scheme.

The $900 million was directly awarded to the WE Charity, which, in turn, intended to use teachers and camp operators to recruit students to become paid volunteers.

The recruitment fees payable to teachers and other organizations would be in excess of $10,000 for a certain number of students. The students would then be paid below minimum wage to ‘volunteer’ for a set number of hours.

Aside from the issue of paying volunteers, there is another challenge.

Even if the program were able to recruit 100,000 students who worked enough hours to earn the maximum credit of $5,000, this only works out to $500 million.

Where does the other $400 million end up?

In recruitment fees?

Either way, it does not make sense to spend $900 million and have only $500 million reach students who are ultimately being paid less than minimum wage to volunteer.

At the same time, there are small business owners and other organizations that have applied for the Canada Summer Jobs program and have been denied placements due to a lack of funding.

The WE Charity and the Liberal government have made the decision to end this project leaving the future uncertain.

As the Conservative Opposition, we have recommended the Trudeau Liberal government should instead use that $900 million and invest it into the Canada Summer Jobs program and ensure that charities and non-profit organizations have the opportunity to apply.

My question this week is:

  • Do you agree?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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