Evidence of meeting #51 for Finance in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was youth.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Dalal Al-Waheidi  Executive Director, WE Charity
Scott Baker  Chief Operations Officer, WE Charity
Sofia Marquez  Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual
John-Frederick Cameron  Chief Executive Officer, Katimavik

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

What about with Nancy McCain?

3:40 p.m.

Executive Director, WE Charity

Dalal Al-Waheidi

To the best of my knowledge, based on my knowledge, I don't know.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Ms. Marquez, are you aware of any communications with those persons from the WE organization?

3:40 p.m.

Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual

Sofia Marquez

To the best of my knowledge, I do not know of any communication directly with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

What about with Nancy McCain?

3:40 p.m.

Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual

Sofia Marquez

With regard to Nancy McCain, no.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Okay.

Ms. Marquez, you had a call with PMO policy director Rick Theis on March 5, which coincidentally was the same day that WE began implementing the program. When you indicated that WE was going to begin implementing the program on that day, did he tell you that it was inappropriate because it had not yet been approved by cabinet?

3:40 p.m.

Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual

Sofia Marquez

Truthfully, I wasn't aware at the time that the contribution agreement or the contract was starting to be implemented at that time. At no point in time did we ever have a conversation about the implementation of the project. It was solely based on understanding the current state of affairs of the proposal as it was at that time, just briefing them on that.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

However, at that time, you, as an organization, were implementing the proposal—on that day, in fact. You spoke for 30 minutes with the PMO and nothing came up about that implementation.

3:40 p.m.

Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual

Sofia Marquez

Again, allow me to clarify and specifically address your question. I was not aware of the contract's being implemented at that time. The conversation was not around the implementation of such a project.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Okay, so, this would become a $500-million contribution agreement. Your organization is implementing it on that day. You're talking with the Prime Minister's Office, the office of the head of government, and nothing came up in that call about the fact that your organization was beginning to implement it that day.

3:40 p.m.

Former Staff Member, Government and Stakeholder Relations, WE Charity, As an Individual

Sofia Marquez

From what I recall from that conversation, again, we walked him through the latest proposal development and all the details behind what would have become the Canada student service grant, but there were no specific conversations about starting the project. I know that within the context of the pandemic, honestly, in every single conversation there was this urge to try to get this program moving forward, to be up and ready as soon as possible. Now, that was it.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

You didn't mention to him and he didn't mention to you that you guys were beginning to implement the program at that time. Okay.

Mr. Baker, did you, as an organization, conclude an agreement with National Public Relations?

3:40 p.m.

Executive Director, WE Charity

Dalal Al-Waheidi

To the best of my knowledge, we have concluded that work because of the—

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

No, I mean, was there ever a deal signed or put in place between WE and National Public Relations?

August 13th, 2020 / 3:40 p.m.

Executive Director, WE Charity

Dalal Al-Waheidi

I will have to get back to you on this one, because my role with the National PR—

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Baker, do you know?

3:40 p.m.

Chief Operations Officer, WE Charity

Scott Baker

Thank you for the question.

I don't know if there was an agreement signed. I do know that National PR was one of the many vendors that we were looking to engage to be able to scale the program across the country.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

You had not finalized anything with them?

3:40 p.m.

Chief Operations Officer, WE Charity

Scott Baker

I was not part of the conversation with National, so I can't comment on that.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

You're down to 30 seconds, Pierre.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

We'll need you to follow up with that information.

Who was the highest-paid speaker that you engaged as WE between 2015 and 2019?

3:45 p.m.

Executive Director, WE Charity

Dalal Al-Waheidi

As shared in the testimonies by the co-founders before, and as we pay for speaker—

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Yes, just the highest-paid person.

3:45 p.m.

Executive Director, WE Charity

Dalal Al-Waheidi

Mr. Chair, I'm trying hard to answer the question if he can give me the courtesy of just [Technical difficulty—Editor]