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Youth Minister does not remember details of phone call with WE days before proposal submitted

Youth Minister Bardish Chagger spoke on the phone with WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger days before the organization submitted its proposal for a $912 million federal contract.

Youth Minister Bardish Chagger spoke on the phone with WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger days before the organization submitted its proposal for a $912 million federal contract.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Chagger told the House of Commons ethics committee on Tuesday that she called Kielburger five days before WE Charity applied for the contract.

Despite the fact that she talked to Kielburger for 30 minutes, Chagger told the committee that she could not remember anything that was said.

“All information I have available, I am making available,” said Chagger. 

Chagger was the minister who agreed to outsource the $912 million Canada Student Service Grant program to WE. From the deal, WE was expected to make around $43.5 million.

In July, it was revealed that WE had paid members of the Trudeau family $564,846 in speaking fees and travel expenses over the past decade.

Chagger’s testimony contradicts the statement she gave to the finance committee on July 16. At that committee meeting she never mentioned the phone call.

“Did you discuss the program with anyone at WE before discussing it at cabinet?” asked Conservative MP Michael Barrett on July 16.

“I did not,” Chagger replied.

On Tuesday, Chagger told the committee that she did not know the prime minister was going to announce the contract with WE despite the contract falling under her portfolio as minister of youth.

“My frustration here is when you’re asked a simple question, did you meet with the Kielburgers, and you can’t give us a straight answer, it makes the waters seem very, very murky,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus. 

“Something happened in that meeting, and you didn’t tell us. Tell us now. Just come clean.”

In recent testimony, senior members of the Liberal government have deflected blame away from themselves as the full extent of the WE Charity scandal comes to light.

At the end of July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Chief of Staff Katie Telford testified before the finance committee.

In his testimony, Trudeau denied all responsibility, claiming that the WE contract was solely decided by Canada’s civil service.

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