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

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

As director of government and stakeholder relations, developing and understanding funding opportunities at various levels of government was part of my job.

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Have you been registered as a lobbyist outside of the federal government, in a province or a municipality?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

No, I am not.

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Okay.

Approximately what percentage of your time is spent lobbying with federal, provincial or municipal governments?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

The amount of time that I spent on either level of government and the type of work that I would be doing varied with time, and I'm not in a position to right now provide you a specific number. However, if you'll allow me—

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Approximately—

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

I'll give you a little more time, Mr. Fortin, to allow for translation.

Answer the question, and we'll go to Mr. Fortin's last question.

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

Thank you. If you'd allow me, my understanding is that this is a compliance issue, and WE Charity is right now dealing with that matter.

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

I didn't get an answer to my question, but I'll move on to another one.

Mr. Baker, you told us earlier that $22 million had been returned to the federal government and that the balance of about $8 million is apparently in a bank account.

At what point are you going to return the missing $8 million to the federal government?

August 13th, 2020 / 3:30 p.m.

Chief Operations Officer, WE Charity

Scott Baker

The process of returning those funds is being guided by the government. In all honesty, if we could send it back tomorrow, we would, but we have to follow the process as outlined by ESDC, given that there was an agreement in place, and we're going through the process of finalizing a termination agreement in partnership with them.

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

There's no process, but we're talking about returning money that doesn't belong to you.

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Fortin, that was your last question, but I do believe, on this process business, a similar answer was given by somebody in previous testimony. There is a process they had to follow in returning the money.

Mr. Julian is next, and you'll be followed by Mr. Poilievre in the second round.

Go ahead, Mr. Julian.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Thanks to our witnesses for being here. We hope you stay safe and healthy during this pandemic, and we appreciate your providing some answers, because there have been a lot of contradictions through this saga.

Ms. Marquez, I have a number of questions for you around meetings, if you don't mind. The first is, we've had testimony at this committee from Minister Chagger testifying that on April 17 she had a meeting with Craig Kielburger and a WE official.

Did you arrange that meeting and were you the other person on that call?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

I can confirm that I was on that call, indeed.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Did you arrange the meeting as well?

Could you let us know if the minister at that point informed you and Mr. Kielburger about any details about what became the CSSG?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

Pardon me, could you repeat the question? I couldn't hear it.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Did the minister give you details about what was to become the CSSG?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

Not at all. There was no mention of the Canada student service grant.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

The conversation was focused on what, then?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

The conversation at that point was within the context of having already shared our social entrepreneurship proposal. We had the opportunity to talk to the minister about the current state of affairs of how WE as an organization was pivoting many of its programs into a virtual setting and what we were seeing on the ground in real time because of the pandemic. It was a combination of both of those things.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

On April 20 there was a call between WE and finance department officials. Did you arrange that call and were you present on that call?

3:30 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

I'm not sure which call you're referring to.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

It was on April 20, with the finance department.

3:35 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

I'm sorry, but I'm not entirely sure which call you're referring to.

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

I'm referring to the call on April 20. It was between WE and finance department officials. Were you aware of that call at all? Were you briefed on it, if you weren't present on the call?