Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mother and brother have each been paid tens of thousands of dollars over last four years to speak at events organized by WE Charity, the organization originally tapped to administer a $900-million government aid program.
The developments add a new layer to a growing controversy over the prime minister’s personal ties to the Toronto-based international charity, which is now at the heart of an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner.
Watch: Trudeau draw big cheers at 2017 WE Day UN event in New York
WE Charity told HuffPost Canada in an emailed statement Thursday that Margaret Trudeau received honorariums to participate in “WE Day” events, where speakers address thousands of young people.
“Margaret Trudeau had her speaking fees sponsored by ME to WE Social Enterprise, and was paid via Spotlight Speakers’ Bureau,” the organization said. ME to WE Social Enterprise is the WE organization’s separate, for-profit entity.
“Margaret Trudeau spoke to the students primarily on the topic of mental health. During 2016-2020, Margaret Trudeau spoke at approximately 28 events and has received a total of approximately $250,000 in speaking honorariums via Speakers Spotlight (approximately $312,000 in total payments to the speakers’ bureau, minus a 20 per cent commission to the bureau),” the statement reads.
Alexandre Trudeau received $32,000 for speaking at eight events “during the 2017-2018 academic year,” minus a 20 per cent commission of $8,000 to the Spotlight Speakers’ Bureau, the charity said.
However, in what the group has called an “error in billing/payment” that was discovered after an internal review process, WE Charity paid Spotlight Speakers’ Bureau directly for a number of Margaret Trudeau’s speeches and was “reimbursed by ME to WE Social Enterprise for...