Evidence of meeting #43 for Finance 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

Paulette Senior  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Women's Foundation
Rahul O. Singh  Executive Director, GlobalMedic
Vivian Krause  Researcher and Writer, As an Individual
Jesse Brown  Publisher, CANADALAND, As an Individual
Michelle Kovacevic  Assistant Deputy Minister, Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Evelyn Lukyniuk

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

You've heard this through sources?

12:30 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

Yes, but I have no documentation.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

When have you heard this?

12:30 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

I heard that this happened as far back as before the 2015 federal election, and that WE data was used to select swing ridings, to target swing ridings, in the 2015 federal election.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Has that, to your knowledge, based upon your sources, continued after the 2015 election?

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

I don't know.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

You don't know.

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

I know that's when it started, or I've been told that's when it is believed to have started. I don't know with what regularity—or if at all—it has continued. That's why I asked the question.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Right. Again, these are multiple sources that you heard this from.

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

Well, that the Liberal Party was involved, no. That's only from one source.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Okay, but it's your understanding that substantial data was transferred.

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

No. I don't know [Technical difficulty—Editor].

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Okay. The bottom line is that you have some information, but you don't have any further details.

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

No, except to say that it would.... I think the question here is this: Why was the federal government so keen to award this contract despite all the red flags? What was the reason? Was there a benefit?

I think a database like that, if in fact it is good-quality data.... I don't know how good they are at using Salesforce. I do know that I've seen in their financials that they pay about $140,000 a year for the Salesforce licence. I don't know what the quality of their data is, but it's a very enviable dataset if it is as good as it could be.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

We know, Ms. Krause and Mr. Brown, that WE had been in breach of their banking covenants, starting in 2018. How difficult was that to find?

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

Whom are you asking? Me?

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Either Ms. Krause or Mr. Brown, or both.

12:35 p.m.

Researcher and Writer, As an Individual

Vivian Krause

It's not difficult at all. Just read the financial statements. It's the first thing you should read if you're looking at any charity.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Brown, would you concur? You've reported on it.

12:35 p.m.

Publisher, CANADALAND, As an Individual

Jesse Brown

Yes. This information came to our attention via Charity Intelligence, which is an independent charity watchdog. They found that in the last two sets of audited financials from WE.

I believe that Charity Intelligence did have some resistance getting one set of financial disclosures from WE Charity, but ultimately they did come into possession of those documents, and it was clear that two years running they were in breach of their—

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

This has been in the public domain for some time.

12:35 p.m.

Publisher, CANADALAND, As an Individual

Jesse Brown

That's correct.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

That's correct, so when WE put forward their proposal to the government respecting the Canada student service grant, this information would have been readily available, easily accessible and widely known. Is that fair?

July 22nd, 2020 / 12:35 p.m.

Publisher, CANADALAND, As an Individual

Jesse Brown

I think that it was accessible, certainly through the Charity Intelligence report on WE Charity and possibly in other places as well.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

How do you square that with representations from officials of the government who say they just had no idea about this from a due diligence standpoint?