The Kielburger brothers were in testifying under oath Monday, March 15, 2021 regarding the WE Charity scandal. They were questioned heavily by many members of parliament including Pierre Poilievre, Charlie Angus and others.
While testifying, the Kielburgers claimed there was no role of Senior Advisor for the PMO, Ben Chin, and that they never had direct contact with Chin regarding the shaping of the summer student grant program.
Poilievre questioned the brothers in regards to the role of Chin asking;
“What was the role exactly of Mr. Chin, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister in setting up this program?”
Craig and Marc Kielburger both first responded claiming “there is no role,” that they were aware of.
Poilievre then fired back with a question regarding LinkedIn messages between Craig and Chin saying;
“Then why did you send him a message on LinkedIn on June 27th saying ‘Hello Ben, thank you for your kindness in helping shape our latest program with the government. Warmly, Craig’?”
Craig responded saying that his executive assistant (EA) sent 100 messages on that day to people asking them to join on LinkedIn saying that Chin was one of them — essentially trying to avoid answering Poilievre’s question.
But he wouldn’t let them get off that easy.
“Sorry Craig, this is your message, it is signed by you and if I could be clear — it doesn’t just say ‘I wish you well,’ it says ‘Thank you for your kindness in helping shape our latest program with the government. Warmly, Craig.’ You sent that — did you not?
“Yeah, I don’t dispute that was sent,” Craig responded.
“Sorry, you’ve got yourself in a lot of trouble here. You said just a moment ago, you thought that the Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor, Mr. Chin, had no role in the establishment of the program but I have correspondence where you thanked him for helping shape that very program. So why did you thank him for shaping the program when now you claim you didn’t know he played any role in the program?,” said Poilievre.
Craig then continued to stand by his first answer, claiming his EA sent out the messages.
“No but this was not a message — excuse me Craig, Craig, you’re in a lot of trouble here my friend. You’re under oath. Perjury is a crime,” said Poilievre. “You said a moment ago, that you thought the Prime Minister’s chief advisor had no role in establishing this program. Your message to him did not say ‘thank you for joining me on LinkedIn. It said ‘Thank you for your kindness in helping shape our latest program with the government. Warmly, Craig.’ So which is it — I wanna ask you clearly — did you know that Mr. Chin was playing a role in establishing this program, yes or no?”
Craig then responds with what can be presume to be a blatant lie – answering no.
“So you sent a message to someone, Thanking him for helping shape our latest program even though you had no knowledge of his involvement in the program?”
Craig then reiterates what he has already said numerous times claiming that his EA sent out the messages and Poilievre asks him if his assistant sent out the same message that was sent out to Chin to all 100 people.
Craig then said they were “all personalized LinkedIn requests.”
“His LinkedIn request asked you to thank him for helping you establish this program?,” asked Poilievre. Craig then states that is once again was his LinkedIn request.
“Your story’s shifting here my friend. This is important because you’ve until now claimed the Prime Minister’s Office wasn’t involved in shaping the program. It was just bureaucratic ESDC. You’ve tried to distance the Prime Minister who’s you organization has paid off and now we find that you corresponded with his top advisor thanking him for shaping the program.”
Craig then says; “So allow me to rephrase it this way, that was the only correspondence that I had in the course of two years with him, was a three line LinkedIn request to join.”
Pierre once again reestablishes that this isn’t an ordinary LinkedIn request, but more rather him thanking him for establishing a program.
He then gets interrupted mid sentence by Liberal member Han Dong, recognizing a point of order (or point of debate as Chris Warkentin put it) regarding that the question has been answered and that he should not address the Kielburgers lawyer.
Poilievre is finally given his last chance to ask and receive an answer from the Kielburgers.
“So Mr. Chin actually responded to your message. He said ‘great to hear from you Craig. Let’s get our young working.’ So obviously in direct reference to the program. Not thank you for adding me or agreeing to add me on LinkedIn, as you’re now claiming. Are you testifying that you never spoke or communicated in any way, shape or form with Mr. Chin outside of this message — before or after?”
Craig then reaffirms his answer — “Two years. Correct.” And then said that they will have a hard time getting followers on LinkedIn after this and Marc pipes in telling Poilievre “We’d love for you to follow us on LinkedIn — that would be awesome.”
So obviously the Kielburgers appear to have lied under oath and are hiding — or trying to hide at least that they had any correspondence with the Prime Minister’s Office.
Hopefully Mr. Poilievre will get some clearer answers — but that may be difficult task.
You can watch highlights of the Conservatives and the NDP’s Charlie Angus grill the Kielburger brothers about the WE Scandal below. (Chin questions begin at 19:15 in the video).
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