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Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has ruled that PM Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of Interest Act in relation to his involvement in granting WE Charity a federal contract, but former finance minister Bill Morneau placed himself in a conflict of interest “on several occasions.” Dion’s findings follow two separate investigations prompted by concerns raised by opposition MPs about both Trudeau and Morneau failing to recuse themselves from the 2020 cabinet decision to pay WE Charity $43.5 million to manage a $912 million student summer service program, despite their close personal family connections to the charity. The ethics commissioner said in his report released Thursday, that Morneau — who left cabinet and resigned as an MP in the face of this controversy last summer — breached various sections of the Act by “improperly furthering WE’s private interests, by failing to recuse himself from decisions relating to WE, and by giving WE preferential treatment.” The federal government’s decision to sole-source the program aimed at awarding grants to students who couldn’t find summer work due to COVID-19 embroiled the Liberal minority in a parliamentary controversy for months.

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