Who to blame for Canada’s Charter of Learning debacle?

Raheem Kassam/Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government ordered an independent review into allegations that aid money had been misspent on the agenda-setting Charter Centre of Learning at Regent College, the elite Toronto academy and language school at which Liberal Pierre Trudeau gave his son his MBA.

The centre, established at a cost of $15 million in 2010 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), drew fierce criticism for the $1 million it pays the international cable news network to run training for reporters, and for the new library. Harper government bureaucrats ordered the library closed in April 2013 because of its cost and unsatisfactory future use.

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Since then, the monarchy-themed school has largely carried on business as usual, building, interiorizing and renovating new buildings, accruing about $13 million of new debt in 2016 and 2017.

Global arms dealer Frank Stronach reportedly donated $26 million to the school.

The $75,000 bill for improvements to a house at Gatineau, Que., south of Ottawa, remains outstanding. The mansion had been scheduled to undergo unspecified renovations over an unspecified period of time, said a general contractor.

A company of international arms dealer Frank Stronach also donated $9 million to build Regent College, establishing the school in 2007. It was part of $35 million spent on renovations that year.

“By going forward with the planned renovations, CIDA and the Ministry of International Development are in compliance with Canada’s policies and applicable regulations,” the Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement in June.

A financial audit ordered by the Liberal government does not accuse the school’s executive of having misused taxpayer money. No allegations of misappropriation have been made against the Liberal government, nor against Pierre Trudeau, the son of Pierre Trudeau, the former prime minister of Canada, a private citizen, or his school.

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