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WE charity scandal grows with revelation of numerous sweetheart deals from Liberals

A year-long investigation by the Procurement Ombudsman released on Monday revealed departments typically called We Charity with confidential contract offers, then worked out the price later on many contracts.

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Even before getting a $43.5-million grant from the Liberal cabinet during the pandemic, the WE Charity organization was getting numerous other sweetheart deals, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

A year-long investigation by the Procurement Ombudsman released on Monday revealed departments typically called WE Charity with confidential contract offers, then worked out the price later on many contracts.

“Contacting a prospective supplier, sharing information about an upcoming requirement with that supplier and requesting pricing information from that supplier before establishing and documenting the estimated cost of a contract represents a threat to the fairness of the procurement process and should not be repeated,” wrote Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic in his report.

“In this situation, not all prospective suppliers would be treated equally.

“The supplier (who) was previously contacted for pricing information would have an unfair advantage over other potential suppliers because it received information about the requirement before anyone else.”

Investigators reviewed six contracts totaling $131,710 awarded to WE Charity over a three-year period. One, a $17,050 contract from the Leaders’ Debates Commission, was awarded even though WE Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger was on the Commission board at the time.

“It appeared the estimated cost of $17,050, including tax, was established after WE Charity had been contacted,” wrote Jeglic.

“Certain issues regarding fairness were identified.”

None of the six contracts “clearly showed the estimated cost had been established before the department contacted We Charity about its requirement.”

Other awards included:

  • $11,300 from the Canada School of Public Service with costs “established after the quote was received from WE Charity”;
  • $13,374 from the Department of Foreign Affairs with costs fixed “after WE Charity had been contacted”;
  • $24,996 from the Privy Council Office, a figure $4 below the threshold mandating open bids;
  • $24,990 from the Public Health Agency, just $10 below the threshold mandating open bids.

All the contracts were for “speakers’ services,” “facilitation services” or commemoration of events like United Nations’ Child Day observances.

In one case, a contract budgeted at $35,398 plus tax, a total $40,000 from the foreign affairs department, was repeatedly rewritten to satisfy the supplier.

“WE Charity had originally proposed a price that exceeded the $40,000,” wrote Jeglic.

“However following a discussion with the department, WE Charity removed a proposed activity and submitted a new proposal with the price reduced to $40,000.

“Documentation provided to the department did not indicate why the department requested this change.”

The favour was a “manipulation” of Government Contracts Regulations, it said.

WE Charity subsequently submitted an invoice for $40,000 without GST, claiming “it does not charge tax due to it status as a charity,” wrote Jeglic, adding the department again rewrote terms of the contract to pay We Charity $40,000 without tax.

“This means the total amount of the contract remained $40,000 and the value attributed to the work or service component of the contract increased by $4,602,” said Jeglic. “

However, there was no indication of a change in the scope of work provided to justify the increase from $35,398 to $40,000.”

The investigation was prompted by complaints from three unidentified MPs, said the Ombudsman.

Complaints were received July 2, 2020 just one day before cabinet canceled a $43.5 million grant on disclosures WE Charity hired then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s daughter out of college, covered $41,366 in expenses to host Morneau’s family at resorts in Kenya and Ecuador, and paid members of the prime minister’s family $481,751 in fees, gifts and free trips to London and New York.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steven

    August 10, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Unacceptable behavior. Manipulation of Government Contracts Regulations to ensure WE got the deal needs to be criminally investigated. However, if Trudeau is involved will the RCMP Commissioner smooth things out for the brat. Just like SNC-L.

    Canada needs Federal law enforcement and charges laid for the people who would do wrong in Government no matter who they might be. This has been lacking for the past five years with the Liberal Government in power. Corruption just say liberal.

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News

War room launches American offensive

The approximately $240,000 initiative is “a reminder to Americans that their friends and allies in Canada hold solutions to cleaner energy and lower gas prices – and the key to a strong post-pandemic economic recovery.”

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Alberta’s energy war room kicked of a quarter-million-dollar campaign to sell Americans on Canada’s oil.

As first reported in the Western Standard, the campaign kicked off with billboards in Times Square in New York City and Washinton, DC.

The campaign by the Canadian Energy Centre asks Americans to choose Canadian oil imports first for solutions to cleaner energy production and a break from rising prices at the pumps.

The US uses approximately nine million barrels of oil per day beyond what is produced domestically. 

The approximately $240,000 initiative is “a reminder to Americans that their friends and allies in Canada hold solutions to cleaner energy and lower gas prices — and the key to a strong post-pandemic economic recovery.”

The outdoor and online campaign will direct people to information about Canada’s responsible energy development at www.friendlyenergy.com

The campaign will also feature a grassroots component that calls on Canadians and Americans to respectfully advocate to the president and U.S. lawmakers about the benefits of Canadian energy.

“We want to give our American friends the information they need to urge their leaders to look to safe, responsible and increasingly less intensive crude from Canada that U.S. refiners need and that will help keep gas prices down,” said Canadian Energy Centre CEO Tom Olsen.

“We are speaking out for the many Canadians and Americans dismayed that the U.S. government asked OPEC+ countries for more oil to curb rising gas prices, rather than working with Canada.”

Olsen pointed out the U.S. government closed the door on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have been the first pipeline operated at net-zero emissions and eventually powered by renewable energy resources.

“While Keystone XL’s fate has been decided for now, there remains urgency in letting Americans know any further threatened sanctions in the U.S. on pipelines by state governments and activist-led court challenges will be detrimental to American families, struggling to get back on their feet from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” he said.

Of the top 10 countries from which the U.S. imported oil in June 2021, three were designated Not Free (Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq) and three were designated as Partly Free (Mexico, Nigeria and Colombia).

Specifics for the billboard advertising include:

  • Two digital billboards in Times Square for a four-week period and online display campaign promoting Canada as the responsible and reliable energy provider for the U.S.
  • A static digital billboard, located in Astor on New York’s Grand Central Parkway, for a two-week period targeting traffic heading to LaGuardia Airport, the Mets Citi Field Stadium and a “chokepoint” for traffic to Queens.
  • Three full-motion digital billboards for a two-week period on the exterior of the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas.
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News

Farkas pledges to freeze taxes for four years

Farkas said every year Calgarians are told they have to accept increased taxes or face cuts to services.

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Calgary mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas released the first plank of his platform Monday, pledging to freeze taxes for four years.

“Over the past 10 years, Calgarians have struggled with lack of opportunity. We’ve witnessed the economy crumble, the tax burden increase, and the city hall establishment become increasingly out of touch. It’s time for that to change,” said Farkas in a release.

“If elected as mayor, I will champion a four-year property tax freeze for homes and businesses. Now more than ever, Calgarians need a strong and growing economy. This four-year tax freeze will throw a lifeline to struggling families, seniors, and small business owners, and give them the certainty that they need to get back on their feet.”

Farkas said economist Jack Mintz reviewed the promise and found it to be an achievable goal, with the millions the city has stashed aside in various reserve funds.

“Implementing a four-year residential and non-residential tax freeze is undoubtedly achievable,” said Mintz,

“The best part is this plan can be implemented without reductions to city services given the excess reserves available and reasonable growth forecasts.”

Farkas said every year Calgarians are told they have to accept increased taxes or face cuts to services.

“It’s time to put this false choice to rest with common-sense financial management,” said the Farkas campaign, adding the tax bill for the typical home has doubled over the last decade while basic city services have remained stagnant or even declined.

“This election is about change versus more of the same. As councillor, I’ve consistently opposed needless budget increases. I have a record of following through on my promises. Change starts now, with a four-year tax freeze,” Farkas said.

Calgarians go to the polls October 18.

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Poll shows Canadians trust the Internet and know what’s fake news

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department has proposed “concrete action” to police news and information on the internet.

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Despite Liberal attempts to censor the Internet, the vast majority of Canadians think online information is reliable and people can tell when its not, says the feds own internal polling.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department has proposed “concrete action” to police news and information on the Internet.

“A majority, 80%, believe the online content they consume is factual and truthful,” said a pollsters’ report.

“Two-thirds of Canadians, 66%, feel confident in their ability to tell if online content is fair and balanced.”

The Heritage department paid Ipsos Public Affairs $164,621 to conduct online focus groups and questionnaires with 5,207 people.

“Almost all Canadians are frequently consuming some form of information online,” wrote researchers.

“Canadians largely believe having access to different sources of information with different points of view is important for people to participate in a democracy.

“Most participants were confident in their abilities to consider various sources and ensure they are being presented with ‘the full picture.’”

Guilbeault last July 2 issued a report to instruct the media on how to report the news.

“We can no longer ignore the challenges and opportunities that come with an increasingly digital world,” said Guilbeault.

“We have to act now to ensure a healthy ecosystem online for all citizens.”

Reporters, editors and commentators must “foster greater exposure to diverse cultural content, information and news” and “contribute to a healthier public discourse, greater social inclusion within society, bolster resilience to disinformation and misinformation and increase our citizens’ ability to participate in democratic processes,” said the report.

The guide defined misinformation as “false or misleading content shared without harmful intent though the effects can still be harmful, e.g. when people share false information with friends and family in good faith.”

The document doesn’t say who within the Heritage department would monitor news deemed to be harmful.

“Ethical journalistic standards should be upheld and encouraged,” said the guide, adding: “Information about media ownership and funding sources should be made accessible to the public and transparent to safeguard a diverse and pluralistic media ecosystem.”

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