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Trudeau denies interference in Canadian government contract awarded to charity with family ties

It is the third ethics probe the Canadian prime minister has faced.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Image: Fred Chartrand

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau has defended himself against claims he intervened to ensure a charity his family did paid work for won a government contract.

Trudeau has apologised in a rare parliamentary committee appearance, adding that he should have recused himself from a Cabinet decision to award a contract to administer money to students having trouble finding work due to the pandemic.

The scheme came under scrutiny after it was revealed that We Charity, an organisation Trudeau’s family has worked for, was chosen to administer it.

The prime minister’s wife, brother and mother have been paid a combined $300,000 Canadian dollars – €187,000 – for speaking at a number of the charity’s events.

Trudeau said: “We Charity received no preferential treatment, not from me, not from anyone else. I did absolutely nothing to influence that recommendation.”

When he learned that We Charity was recommended he said he “pushed back”.

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He said: “When the issue of We came forward my concern was to push back on it, to delay it from Cabinet so that more due diligence could happen.

“Looking back on it it would have been better for perception’s sake that I had simply stepped away and not been involved at all. None of this program was going to benefit any members of my family.”

Canada’s ethics commissioner is investigating Trudeau over the matter in the third ethics probe he has faced.

Under pressure, the government and the charity terminated their deal earlier this month.

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