Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says she shares responsibility for the WE Charity controversy that has rocked the federal government and sparked two ethics investigations, including one focused on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decisions behind closed doors.
“I think all of us, everyone in our government, everyone in cabinet, bears responsibility for this situation,” Freeland told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa Thursday.
“And I’d like to say, speaking for myself, that I accept that responsibility and I very much regret what has happened. And I’d like to say to Canadians, I’m really sorry. We have so many huge issues facing our country. Clearly, our government made a mistake. And I want to say to people we’re going to learn from it.”
Watch: Trudeau is distracted by WE affair, Freeland should step in, Bloc leader says
Freeland appeared alongside Trudeau to announce that the federal government struck a deal with the provinces and territories to transfer $19 billion to help them safely re-open their economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A reporter asked Trudeau if he told his deputy PM of his family’s personal ties to WE Charity, which was originally tapped to manage a $912-million student-grant program.
Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, is an ambassador for the organization, and, last week, it was revealed that his mother, Margaret, and brother, Alexandre, were each paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak at WE Charity events in recent years. WE Charity also revealed Grégoire Trudeau received $1,400 for speaking at an event in 2012.
Freeland responded that she thought all Canadians were aware that the prime minister and his family had long been involved with the WE organization.
“When it comes to the specific financial connections, the prime minister has been very clear with Canadians that he apologizes and regrets how the situation developed,” she said.
Freeland then said she supports Trudeau remaining prime...