WE Charity co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger plan to testify on Monday before a parliamentary committee looking into last summer’s proposed federal student volunteer program.
Their attendance was confirmed in a letter to Conservative MP Chris Warkentin, chair of the standing committee on access to information, privacy and ethics.
“WE Charity, together with Marc and Craig Kielburger, will appear on Monday, March 15, with the expectation that they will be afforded a fair hearing by the committee,” lawyer William McDowell said in a March 11 letter to Mr. Warkentin.
“To be clear, that must include allowing me to intervene where necessary to provide advice to our clients.”
Mr. McDowell said counsel must be able to protect rights of clients in this way “rather than to be relegated to a purely ornamental role.”
The committee is looking into the federal plan to have WE manage a $900-million student-services program. The arrangement was cancelled amid conflict-of-interest allegations centred on the close ties between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family and the organization.
In a rare move, the committee issued a summons for the brothers to testify.
WE had said in an e-mailed statement to The Globe and Mail this week that the most recent correspondence of the committee chair suggested a “limited” ability for Mr. McDowell to engage in the proceedings.
In an interview this week, Mr. Warkentin said the committee believes there are still “unanswered questions” about the federal plan to seek WE’s help with the student-services program.
Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is looking into the involvement of Mr. Trudeau and former finance minister Bill Morneau, who also has family ties to WE, in awarding the $43.5-million contract to the charity.
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