Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Most charities don’t want refund from Justin Trudeau

There appears to be little interest from charities in an offer for refunds for speaking fees by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

The Grace Foundation in New Brunswick kicked off the speaking-fee controversy last week, with a letter sent to Conservatives asking for Trudeau to refund the $20,000 he charged for an unsuccessful fundraising event a year ago.

In reply, Trudeau is getting in touch with more than a dozen other organizations this week to see if they have similar complaints, but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of other buyers’ remorse.

Sam Mercanti, chairman of the board for the Charity of Hope, told the Star his organization was pleased with the April 2010 event, for which Trudeau earned $15,000 according to his own disclosure documents.

“We had a contract up front, so we knew the charges before the actual event (and) it was fair,” Mercanti said. “We made money at the event. If he wants to return the money that would be fine, but we are not going after it.”

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union isn’t looking for a refund of the $20,000 it paid in 2010 either.

Greg Hamara, who speaks for the union, said Trudeau was asked to speak to a conference in 2010 that was specifically devoted to the topic of imagining what Ontario would be like in the future. Trudeau was not invited as a politician, but as a “young Canadian” and he was asked to deliver a non-political speech, Hamara said.

“He delivered on that and we were pleased,” Hamara said. (Source: The Toronto Star)