The Minister’s office says that Acan’s role is strictly administrative and her fixed-term contract ends on August 31. She joined the WE organization as an employee after having previously worked as an intern during her undergraduate studies in community development.
“Like millions of Canadians, Grace Acan has gained valuable work experience in the charitable sector,” Morneau spokesperson Pierre-Olivier Herbert told CBC News earlier this week in response to a whether his job had anything to do with the charity’s contract to administer the $ 900 million Canada Student Services Grant.
“There is absolutely no connection between his job and any work WE do with the Government of Canada. “
Morneau’s other daughter, Clare, was also involved in WE Charity, especially after the publication of her book Kakuma Girls, which shares the stories of African schoolgirls in a refugee camp in Kenya.
While in high school at Havergal College, Clare Morneau began a correspondence program between her school and a girls’ school that her father’s business, Morneau Shepell, supported inside the camp.
Since then, she has been hired as a speaker to speak about this educational partnership and has spoken at charity WE day events, where thousands of students come together to hear motivational speeches promoting civic engagement.
Morneau’s office stated that Clare Morneau had done this work strictly as a volunteer and had never been paid.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Wednesday that his cabinet had discussed and approved the awarding of the contract to administer the volunteer program grant. The Prime Minister said he did not recuse himself from the cabinet discussion, despite his family’s involvement in the charity.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement, CBC News asked Morneau’s office if he had recused himself from the cabinet’s conversation regarding the award of this administrative contract to WE Charity.
“The recommendation that WE administer the program came from the public service,” Herbert told CBC News Friday, repeating his previous statement that the Acan futures contract had absolutely no connection to the work that the agency charity had performed with the government.
“Mr. Morneau did not shy away from the discussions,” said Herbert.
Today, we announced an investment of $ 3 million to help young entrepreneurs find new and meaningful ways to solve pressing social problems. In partnership with @WEMovement in Toronto, we will support the creation of 200 youth-led businesses dedicated to promoting positive social change. pic.twitter.com/fuDMEh6jBV
– @ Bill_Morneau
In August 2019, the federal government donated $ 3 million to the social entrepreneurship initiative of the WE organization. WE said at the time that the funding would create 200 “youth-led businesses” to solve social problems at the community level.
Morneau, who represents the riding of Toronto Center, made the announcement on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett said on Friday that the public deserves to know which cabinet ministers know that members of the Trudeau family have been paid by WE Charity in the past.
“We need to know when they know it and we need to know if they have participated in cabinet discussions on this,” he said.
“Canadians deserve to have a Prime Minister, they deserve to have a cabinet and a Parliament, they trust. And it is clear that this confidence has been shaken by another scandal on the part of this Prime Minister. ”