WE Charity announced Wednesday it will be shutting down its Canadian operations in the wake of the federal student service grant scandal.
“Through decisive action to preserve our savings, sell our assets and establish an endowment, we hope to sustain global projects for the long-term, like our hospital, college and agricultural learning centre that meet critical needs of children and families,” said WE co-founder Craig Kielburger in a statement.
In July, it was revealed that the Trudeau government handpicked WE to administer the $912 million Canada Student Service Grant program.
Critics accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of cronyism in the decision to pick WE. Several members of Trudeau’s family, including his wife, mother and brother, have benefited financially from close ties to the charity.
During their testimonies before the Standing Committee on Finance, Marc and Craig Kielburger revealed that Trudeau’s mother Margaret Trudeau was paid $479,944 for WE speaking engagements.
In his own testimony, the prime minister denied any wrongdoing in the affair, suggesting that the civil service was responsible for the choice.
“There was never any direction by or attempt to influence from me or my staff that the public service recommend WE Charity,” said Trudeau.
However, a trove of documents disclosed by the federal government show that the prime minister’s office had a hand in directing the civil service to choose WE to administer the funds.
“We are saddened by these developments. This year marks the 25th anniversary of WE Charity Canada. We planned to launch an endowment this year, but not in this way,” said co-founder Marc Kielburger on WE’s decision to abandon operations in Canada.
Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s investigation into the prime minister’s actions in the WE Charity scandal is ongoing.
If found guilty, Trudeau will have a third ethics violation under his belt.