Evidence of meeting #24 for Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was program.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Marc Kielburger  Founder, WE Charity
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Miriam Burke
Craig Kielburger  Founder, WE Charity

4:30 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

I don't have a number off the top of my head, but we submitted it to the FINA committee, and we'll submit it to you again, if you like.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Would it be accurate to say that the collective communications with the government were the equivalent to a significant part of the duties for one employee?

4:30 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

It would actually be a [Technical difficulty—Editor].

The challenge that you are attempting here is that you're counting two volunteers. I understand that Mr. Angus keeps saying.... It is literally not possible for us as volunteers to register, so I understand the concern. If any member of Parliament wants to change the legislation, we put proactively everything out on the Internet, so you could see our engagement on this.

The public, the Ethics Commissioner, the lobbying commissioner, any member of Parliament can see our engagement on this as volunteers, even though we were not captured under the official reporting requirements.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Last year, you laid off your government relations director, and then immediately brought her back into your employ. What was the reason for that?

4:30 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

You're referring to the director of government relations and stakeholder engagements, just to clarify. It was a small part of her time on government—the rest was foundations and corporate events—and the reason was that we shifted her into a contracting role.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

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

Ms. Marquez—

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Pardon me, Mr. Barrett, but your time is up.

We'll turn to Mr. Fergus now for his round of questions.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Could you please tell me how much time I have?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

You have five minutes.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Craig and Marc Kielburger, thank you for being here. Your participation is appreciated.

In your remarks, you talked about the people who had attended events organized by the WE Organization. Members of the opposition asked you how many high-ranking Liberals had attended the events.

Can you name high-ranking individuals who were not Liberals who attended the events?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

Sure. The Prime Minister obviously comes to mind, the premiers of provinces, when we held WE Day.

I imagine that Premier Wynne.... Did she ever attend?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Marc Kielburger

Yes. Premier Wynne attended in the past.

We're happy to look into it. We just don't have it off the top of our heads.

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

We've had key people—

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Marc Kielburger

We've had members of Parliament and high-ranking officials from all parts—

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

We'll happily give you a list. We'll look at some of the names and share a few names.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Could you clarify something, please? Did people who were not Liberals attend the events?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

Yes, of course. It represented Canada, so whoever was in power in Alberta or in Saskatchewan or in B.C.... The premiers would come. The mayors would come. The Prime Minister would come. The Governor General would come. Yes.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you.

In the past, the WE Organization had received funding from other levels of government in Canada. You just said you interacted with mayors, provincial premiers and the governor general.

What other levels of government provided you with funding?

When did you receive the funding?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Marc Kielburger

You will remember that we've received funding over the course of the organization's history, especially the last 10 years.

To answer your question specifically, it was at the provincial level—at times the municipal level, but more so at the provincial level—where we were working with ministries of education to help bring the WE schools and WE Day program directly to the provinces. Again, it was in 7,000 schools. Again, all political parties, from the NDP to the Conservatives to the Liberals, have been, in the past, supportive.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you.

In the fall, we received information from Mr. Perelmuter on all the events put on by the WE Organization that Mr. Trudeau and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau appeared at. The expenses for airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, taxis and so on were also covered.

Did the payments for those expenses go to Mr. Trudeau or Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau, or did you pay the suppliers directly?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

It was directly to the suppliers.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

It's not accurate to say that the Trudeaus received that money, then. Is that correct?

4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

The honourable member would like to hear you say that nearly half those payments were made to the Trudeau family. Is that something you can say, in all honesty?

March 15th, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.

Founder, WE Charity

Craig Kielburger

To be very clear, we never paid any expenses for Mr. Trudeau and we never provided any honorarium to Mr. Trudeau.