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

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

That's how this 30-minute phone call happened with Rick on the day that WE began implementing the program, is that correct?

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

That's correct.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Did you mention the possibility of a contribution agreement, or some sort of contract that WE could sign with the government?

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

Are you asking if I implied that there was a contract in the works?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Did that come up in the conversation at all?

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

We just discussed the current proposal as it was. There was no conversation about a contract itself.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

What about a start date, did that ever come up?

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

The start date was something that was continuously being pushed. The government was trying to get it up and running as soon as possible. On the WE side, we were doing our best to also gear up toward whatever timeline was necessary from government. There was no exact start date, to my understanding of anything.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

You did discuss the issue of a start date with the policy director?

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

No, we did not discuss any start date, per se.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

You said you were discussing the need to get it up and running fast, and your organization was launching the same day.

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

The context, again, is that we shared the latest proposal, which we had been working very closely with ESDC public servants. It was a briefing on the state of affairs of the current state of the proposal itself. There was no communication, nor details—

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Did he ask you for the briefing?

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Just let her finish her answer, because she has time left, Mr. Poilievre.

Mrs. Marquez.

3:50 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

There was no communication or specificity being discussed around contract details whatsoever, or dates.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Did he ask for this briefing from you?

August 13th, 2020 / 3:55 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

No, like I mentioned, this was by introduction through Laura Lebel.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

So you just started shopping around a briefing to the PMO, saying, “I'd like to brief someone in the Prime Minister's Office. Can someone take my call?” Is that right?

3:55 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

No, that is not an accurate representation of what happened. As part of the conversations that we were having at the time with ESDC as well as all the proposal development phases that we were under, it was suggested to me by a political staffer at the Ministry of Finance that I connect with the PMO along with other ministries to make sure that everyone was abreast of the latest and greatest version of the proposal as, again, the context was COVID-19. It needed to be up and running as soon as possible, and they wanted to make sure that everyone was well aware of—

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

So, the finance department sent you to the PMO. Who in the finance department told you to call the PMO?

3:55 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

It was suggested to me by Amit Singh.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

It was Amit Singh. Okay.

How much time do I have, Chair?

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

You have about 40 seconds.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Did you have any information about the communications that WE had directly with Bill Morneau?

3:55 p.m.

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

Sofia Marquez

What communication are you referring to? I'm sorry.