My colleague Michael Barrett, the Shadow Minister for Ethics recently wrote to 'Speakers Spotlight,' the speaking agency through which WE Charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family, to demand it hand over all documents about the arrangements.
On July 22, 2020, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics passed a motion requiring the agency to provide, to the Clerk of the Committee, “a copy of all records pertaining to speaking appearances arranged, since October 14, 2008, for Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre Trudeau—including, in respect of each speaking appearance, an indication of the fee provided, any expenses that were reimbursed and the name of the company, organization, person or entity booking it”.
Originally, 'Speakers Agency' was given a week to provide these records. However, on July 30, at the Agency's request, the Ethics Committee agreed to give it an extension until August 19th to provide the documents. While the Committee had no obligation to accept the extension request, it did so in good faith.
The Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament on August 18th shut down the parliamentary investigations into his latest scandal. His efforts to cover up the truth are an attack on our democracy and the Ethics Committee’s duty to Canadians to pursue truth and justice.
However, the organization has an opportunity to provide the Ethics Committee with the documents it is seeking in good faith. Members of the Committee are aware that these documents are ready and could be shared with it at any time.
Barrett has asked that the Speakers Agency immediately send the documents requested by the Ethics Committee directly to the 11 members of the Committee. The shuttering of the Ethics Committee does not hinder the Agency's ability to make this information public in order to bring clarity and transparency to government.
Canadians have a number of questions when it comes to the payment of the Prime Minister’s family to attend WE Charity events. Answering these essential questions that Canadians have can only make Canada’s democracy better.
Speaker’s Spotlight has the opportunity to do the right thing and be part of the first steps which need to be taken for Canadians to regain confidence in their public institutions.