International

Trudeau admits ‘mistake’ while facing third ethics inquiry in office

BBC – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he “made a mistake” by joining in talks for giving a government contract to a charity that paid his family.

We Charity was tapped by his government to oversee a C$900m ($664m, £533m) youth volunteer programme in June.

It later emerged that We previously paid Mr Trudeau’s relatives over C$280,000 to speak at events.

Mr Trudeau now faces his third ethics commission inquiry in office over the scandal.

“I made a mistake for not recusing myself from the discussions immediately, given my family’s history,” Mr Trudeau said Monday.

“I should not have been a part of the discussion.”

Mr Trudeau has not been paid by the organisation himself, although he has spoken at We events for free.

The prime minister said he should have known his family had been paid, since they are frequently hired for professional speaking engagements.

In a statement on its website, the charity said it was the federal public service, and not Mr Trudeau or his cabinet, that asked it to oversee a national youth volunteer programme.

“We agreed to this challenge because we have 25 years of experience building youth service programs that are in 7,000 Canadian schools engaging students to support 3,000+ charities and causes,” charity co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger wrote.

They said the contract included funds to cover the administrative cost of the programme, but did not provide the charity with a “profit”.

We confirmed that Mr Trudeau’s mother and brother were paid for past speaking engagements. “We respect the public concern” over those fees, the charity said.

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