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Canada Rex Murphy: Who cancelled the WE contract — and why?

16:58  09 july  2020
16:58  09 july  2020 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Marc Kielburger standing on a stage: We just need WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger to come out on a stage and say, © Ian Kucerak/Postmedia We just need WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger to come out on a stage and say,

I don’t normally do trilogies, but this WE Charity affair is fascinating.

The government’s facile description of the WE deal’s unexplained collapse noted that it was a “mutually agreed upon decision.” But that’s hardly reassuring, as the choice to enter into the deal a few weeks earlier was also a mutually agreed upon decision. How could it be otherwise? Mutual agreement is the definition of a deal.

Apparently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also thought there was some explanatory power in telling us that the deal was “unfortunate.” Unfortunate for whom and why was it unfortunate? “Unfortunate” is a very lame and evasive word for messing up a $900-million deal.

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“Unfortunate” covers things like losing your keys for a day, or missing an appointment. We need a word much stronger to describe passing over nearly $1 billion to a charity and throwing it away like a hot potato a few weeks later.

This was a massive undertaking involving nearly $1 billion of public money. Surely both parties did their due diligence to ensure WE Charity had the capacity to administer the program. The question now is: what did either or both parties discover, just a little later, that disqualified Marc and Craig Kielburger, who co-founded WE, from the original agreement, or moved the government to withdraw from it?

Did the Kielburger brothers find some weakness, some flaw, in their ability to administer the program after they agreed to do so? Did they discover that they couldn’t do what they thought only they could do? That must have been a shock.

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Or did the prime minister learn that the organization that he, his wife and his mother have patronized for years, and which he vigorously asserted was the “only” charity in all of Canada that could run this program, could not in fact administer it?

Either way, it was quite a leap to be adamantly sure of something one week, and have that certainty evaporate the next week. What changed? What was discovered? It had to be something really big.

Institutions do not drop billion-dollar agreements lightly. Not even the very trendy ones whose CEOs wear T-shirts and prattle on about empowerment and mindfulness. This arrangement offered WE much more than just money. This one particular contract involved no less than a partnership with the Government of Canada, an endorsement of the highest calibre and status.

A national government of a First World country had to seek out a corporate charity for assistance during a pandemic — think of the intangible benefits this offered the Kielburgers. It would muffle all talk of their troubled management. It would make them stand out among their fellow charities. It would greatly impress other governments around the world.

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Oprah Winfrey might even interview Craig Kielburger — again. To quote “Seinfeld” (once again): “That’s gold, Jerry, gold!”

This contract amounted to the greatest, most prestigious endorsement that Kielburger Inc. has ever received. So what blew it up? Why did they ultimately decline it?

That is, if they did decline it. Maybe it was the government that actually killed it. Hardly any of the Liberal grandees have said a single word on this curious affair.

The most interesting element of the WE story is who said OK and why they thought it was OK in the first place; and then who had a second look and said, oops, not OK at all.

It would be very easy to unravel this element. Craig and Marc Kielburger have only to step out and tell us what happened — no stadium required. With nothing possibly awry (it was all merely “unfortunate”), there’s no reason to hold back. All they have to do is tell the tale of how they were brought in, and why they had to walk away.

No need for commissions or inquires. No defamation lawyers required. Just two charity celebs stepping out on a stage or holding a press conference and saying, “Here’s what happened. Here are the facts. This is the contract.”

It is really incumbent on them to speak to the public, since it was nearly a billion dollars of the public’s money that was, however temporarily, under their administration.

So why not? If it’s awkward for WE and the Kielburgers, the prime minister could very easily perform the task for them. As they say in the biz, it’s a win-win.

National Post

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This is interesting!