Evidence of meeting #12 for Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was charity.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ian Shugart  Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office
Gina Wilson  Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Department of Canadian Heritage
Benoît Robidoux  Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Employment and Social Development
Mary Dawson  As an Individual

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

You mean for documentary evidence, for example?

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Yes.

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

No, he did not as I recall.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Did he ask if, for example, the WE organization had a functioning board that was governing it?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Did he ask if they were in violation of any of their bank covenants?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Did he ask if their financials were in order?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

No. I think he entrusted public servants to do their due diligence with respect to the proposed contribution agreement and the program that would be delivered.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Did he ask that you provide other options for organizations that could provide this service?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

Well, as we indicated to the finance committee chair, there was extensive discussion, prior to the briefing of the Prime Minister and then again at the May 8 briefing and the subsequent briefing, that the due diligence had been done. As parliamentarians know, there was no formal call for proposals, but officials were thorough in understanding given the parameters of the program.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Was the question asked if this organization could deliver the program in both of Canada's official languages in accordance with the Official Languages Act?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

And was the answer that they were able to?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Are you aware that the WE organization was going to subcontract out 100% of the French delivery of the program?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

No, I'm not aware of that.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

You haven't seen media reports to the effect that they had NATIONAL Public Relations contracted as their sub to deliver in French-speaking communities?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

I'm not aware of that.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

The Prime Minister said he wanted to make sure i's were dotted and t's were crossed in the two weeks between that cabinet meeting and the next. What due diligence would have been done during that time that wasn't done previously, up to that point on May 8?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

Well, I think we have indicated that the kind of due diligence with respect to the ability of the organization to deliver the program had to do with official languages in one case, the ability to reach out across the country—in other words, take care of all the regional dimensions—and ensure that Canadians who are typically harder to access, disadvantaged people and so on, would be able to be reached by—

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Sorry, I'm tight for time. I have one more question.

When you appeared at the finance committee, you said, “the Prime Minister was briefed [on the CSSG] prior to cabinet meetings and on at least one other occasion discussing the development of the program, the options, the design features, etc.” That's a quote from you. What was the date Mr. Trudeau was briefed about program development and options?

12:55 p.m.

Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Privy Council Office

Ian Shugart

If I remember correctly, it was late April, April 21 perhaps, when the broad outlines of the entire package for students were being briefed.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rachael Harder

That's time, thank you.

Madame Brière, go ahead for six minutes.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Élisabeth Brière Liberal Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Good afternoon, Mr. Shugart.

Thank you for accepting the invitation to join us this afternoon.

Could you just explain how the file progresses once it gets to the Privy Council Office?