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WE…Have A Problem…

So if you haven’t heard about “WE” you haven’t been paying attention for the last twenty five years.

No one is disputing the fact that they have done great work, but my question is how the fuck did it go so wrong so fast?

This is the third time that Justin Trudeau has been investigated for ethics violations. How many more is Canada going to allow?

From their website, a direct quote

One morning over breakfast, 12-year-old Craig Kielburger was flipping through the newspaper looking for the comics when he was stopped short by a story: Iqbal Masih, a 12-year-old former child slave in Pakistan, had been murdered because he spoke up for human rights.

Craig was 12. Iqbal was 12. In that moment, he was struck by a single and profound connection – except for the happenstance of birth, he could have been Iqbal – and he needed to do something.

But what? He was only one person, and a boy at that. What possible difference could he make in the lives of child slaves a world away?

What was needed: a collective voice. So Craig convinced a handful of Grade 7 classmates that together they could make an impact, and WE Charity was born.

Twenty five years later and WE is being accused of corruption. Largely because a bunch of people they’ve paid for speaking gigs, happen to be related to or work with the Prime Minister of Canada…who coincidentally, has also been paid for speaking at WE events.

I’ve been to a WE Summit, and frankly I was bored out of my tears.

I will never forget one speaker – I can’t remember who – ask how many kids had known someone who had been affected by gun violence or bullying. Nearly every child and adult in GM place in Vancouver, BC stood up.

The speaker was shocked, I was not. Most of the event was wrapped around two hours of advertisements for the WE sponsors. In fact far more attention was paid to the sponsors, then was paid to the speakers, so I left feeling exhausted, and mostly disillusioned with the whole event.

Chalk down ten or fifteen years later, and WE is wrapped in scandal and I can’t say that I am surprised – not because I had doubts about WE, but because I’ve worked for charity before, and I know how they operate.

Charities in general have two main focuses, the public face and making sure that they stay open. WE is no different. I was told I couldn’t be a volunteer because I wasn’t “up beat” enough during the training. The truth is that it was because they were asking me to do all these “get to know you” high energy activities in a group full of strangers.

I am not an extrovert, despite the name of this blog.

I sort of felt like for a person like myself who wanted to help the world but wasn’t sure how, WE was definitely not a charity I wanted to be involved with. All these years later and I am really grateful I made that decision.

In watching just some of the conversation between the Keilburger brothers and members of the Financial Committee, I realized just how defensive Craig in particular sounded, and I couldn’t bring myself to side with him.

He didn’t really answer the questions he was being asked, he sort of talked around them, and while I’m no lawyer or politician, I feel like you know when a person isn’t giving you a straight answer, which is some kinda bullshit when were talking about a billion fucking dollars.

For twenty five years, WE has been the charity darling of the Canadian philanthropic community. They have raised millions upon millions of dollars for kids in Africa and other places around the world. They have built schools and fountains to provide fresh water.

They have been held up to which all other charities in Canada are measured and as it turns out they are just as fallible as the rest of us.

My question now is how many more chances are we going to give Justin Trudeau before we say enough is enough? I was pretty much done with him during the brown and black face scandal.

Now I am even more so done with him, because messing with the lives of children is just not okay. Now, you may disagree with me there but think about this.

In the middle of a pandemic, the government of Canada approved a grant that would give upwards of a billion dollars to WE, which would have had the power to affect the lives of millions of youth across the country. Now, that opportunity is gone, and the money has been or will be returned, and all those kids looking forward to working at WE? Well they’ll have to look for work elsewhere.

All because Justin Trudeau couldn’t step back and let someone else be in charge of where that money was spent. He could have done the right thing, but he made a clear and conscious choice, again, to do the wrong thing.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much had it with Justin Trudeau’s versions of ethics. I’d like to try that guy Jagmeet Singh for awhile, because even though he’s not perfect, he’s at the very least, not a Conservative who wants to strip Canadian’s of their right to exist without oppression.

There are only three choices, what are you going to do?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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