Kalpana - WE Charity has finally caved in and closed all its operations in Canada after all the pressure caused by the political scandal involving Justin Trudeau and Bill Mourneau allocating grants for them when they should have recused themselves from the decision making due to conflict of interest. Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, the founders of the non-profit, announced this news with a heavy heart.
Charo - WE Charity was not at fault in the whole process that resulted in them having to return the government funds they had received, which they should have distributed among Canadian youth to alleviate the heavy burden of paying their studies. WE Charity was not at fault and neither were the many students that will now lose the grants that were meant to help them. So corrupted -or clueless- politicians win, We all lose.
Kalpana - Also the third world countries receiving assistance from WE Charity lose. They lose money and support they need to survive, to thrive in sheer poverty. These third world countries were not at fault, either, in this kerfuffle but, guess what, they also lose and with them, We lose.
Charo - Politicians, however, never lose. Look at Andrew Scheer, the ex-leader of the opposition, who in spite of making a stunning $300,000 a year, paid his children’s tuition fees through the Conservative fund. And yet, here we are, Kalpana, staying up at night trying to figure out how we are going to pay for our children’s education with less than a fifth of this guy’s salary.
Kalpana - We lose. We lose every time a politician spends public funds inadequately, every time he or she takes bribes, every time they make a decision based on their own personal interest.
Charo - Which means we pretty much lose every day. The Kielburger brothers, two dreamers that decided to use their time and their work to help the world, are delivered a devastating blow they will not wholly recover from, whereas the politicians involved in this fiasco will leave the situation virtually unscathed. They will just have to grin and bear it until the mess becomes “old news” for the Media and they are allowed to continue with business as usual. But that money that was intended for our youth will be lost in seas of paperwork. We lose.
Kalpana - And the thing is, most people don’t realize how much they are losing with this corruption pandemic. When money slips through the cracks and it doesn’t reach its legitimate beneficiary, which is society, we all lose.
Charo - Not only do we lose, but also we are required to pay with our taxes for the disasters caused by incompetence and corruption. We are tired of losing. We demand an actual solution to stop corruption. Now. An independent watchdog that ensures that our so hard-earned tax money goes where we want it to go.
Kalpana - If I decided to steal a couple thousand dollars from my office, I would probably wind-up in jail, but if a politician steals a couple millions from the country, he or she stays in his/her position after a slight slap on the wrist. We want this to be over. We want justice to be equal for all.
Charo - Public funds are a pressing issue for many people in Canada, but in third world countries, they mean survival or death. Corruption is tantamount to mass murder. It is a worldwide pandemic, causing more deaths than COVID 19. Let’s stop it. Let’s flatten the curve. Let’s stop losing.
Charo Lloret is from Spain; Kalpana Loganathan is from India. They reflect on their experiences immigrating to Canada.