Skip to content

LETTER: Charity and profit should never mix

'What parliament needs to do is ask the RCMP to determine the facts and act accordingly,' says reader
we day-atlantic-kielburger
Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger on stage at WE Day in a file photo from 2017.

BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication).

The WE Charity scandal involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau is an excellent time for the federal government to legislate a list of what non-profits can and cannot do to avoid such blunders in the future.

They might start by banning profit-making branches of a non-profit organization. They could legislate a system where the firms and charities would apply for government consideration and undergo an intensive financial and criminal record check to prove good character.   

WE Charity is accused of making unlawful payments to the Trudeau family and Mr. Morneau. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and others are calling for the PM to be investigated, WE to be held accountable, and Bill Morneau to be fired.

What parliament needs to do is ask the RCMP to determine the facts and act accordingly: WE Charity and its shell company should also be audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

It doesn’t sit well that WE established a for-profit arm called WE Charity Foundation to gather real-estate assets to be used not only by itself, but by other charities.

This profit company received the nearly $1 billion government contract to administer student grants despite their non-profit branch being rejected from consideration. This foundation began as a private company, but quickly acquired nearly $40 million in real estate. Its leaders decided to incorporate and reported only $150,000 in cash. Now that same firm is reporting they have zero assets and cash. Somehow, $40 million in property assets disappeared from their records. 

WE's financial connection to Trudeau and Morneau also doesn't sit well, nor does its policy of inviting guests to WE ventures and allegedly paying the costs.

This connection warrants inquiry, perhaps a judicial one.   

Christopher Mansour