Trudeau criticized for tweet to Trevor Noah pledging $50M charity gift

Conservatives’ Andrew Scheer accuses PM of promising the cash in a tweet to impress a TV personality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a closing press conference at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada will contribute $50 million to a global charity for children’s education, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted to comedian Trevor Noah – a pledge that quickly drew criticism both for its content and its form.

Celebrities gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, a charity concert honouring Nelson Mandela a century after he was born.

Trudeau tweeted to Noah, who is hosting the festival, that Canada would give the money to Education Cannot Wait, an organization that funds education for children affected by conflicts, natural disasters and other crises.

Global Citizen is an organization that wants to end extreme poverty by 2030. Its Mandela 100 campaign sought to bring in US$1 billion in donations, and Global Citizen tweeted that the campaign surpassed that goal, bringing in more than $7 billion.

“Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it,” Trudeau tweeted to the South African comedian and “The Daily Show” host.

Noah said “This is amazing!” as Trudeau’s tweet was shown on a big screen at the concert.

READ MORE: Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

But back in Canada critics were less enthusiastic. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau of pledging $50 million in a tweet to impress a TV personality.

“A lot of politicians like to be liked. He likes to have his tweets liked and he likes to have his messages retweeted and shared and it seems to be singularly focused on adulation from celebrities, whereas our party and our caucus is focused on doing what’s right by Canadian taxpayers,” Scheer said at an appearance in Winnipeg.

Similarly, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel tweeted that Trudeau’s message was “tone deaf” and also accused him of trying to get noticed by a TV star and said the money had not been budgeted for.

Louis Belanger, the director of communications for International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, said the $50 million is part of $400 million in aid previously announced during the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que., near Quebec City, in June.

Belanger said Education Cannot Wait is one of the only funds that specifically helps girls’ education in places such as refugee camps and war zones.

“This is the type of funding that we had our eye on since we announced it in Quebec City,” he said.

Belanger said the decision to announce the $50 million was made three weeks ago but officials had been talking about giving to Education Cannot Wait for months.

He said the organization operates in Jordan, Lebanon and South Sudan and in camps where people have been displaced by the west African terrorist group Boko Haram, for example.

—With files from The Associated Press

Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Person finds bag of drugs while out for walk in Langford

Police ask residents, drivers to check surveillance footage

One in custody after two men stabbed in Victoria

Police arrest suspect morning after stabbings on Pandora Avenue

Saanich rollover incident caused by driver swerving to avoid deer

Driver uninjured, police unable to locate the deer

Langford man arrested after fleeing a serious crash in Saanich

Other driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police say

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

Most Read