Wednesday, August 05, 2020

WE Charity's corporate sponsors cut them loose before any irregularities are proven

Despite the lack of direct evidence of financial irregularities coming out of the parliamentary investigation of WE Charity, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau, WE's corporate sponsors are cutting ties in droves, just in case, not wanting to be seen publicly supporting a possibly suspect corporate citizen in today's judgemental culture. The Royal Bank of Canada is the latest major sponsor to cut them loose, following Loblaws, Virgin, Telus, Goodlife, KPMG and the Globe and Mail out of the door. Westjet and DHL are said to be considering their options as we speak. These companies are not even bothering to wait to see what comes of the federal Ethics Commissioner's investigation. No detailed explanations have been forthcoming.
So, why are so many companies abandoning WE Charity in their hour of need, like rats from a sinking ship. It all comes back to that ultra-judgemental corporate climate I have mentioned before in this blog, and what has been labelled in recent years as "cancel culture", a public withdrawal of support from a person or organization that has gained the reputation, whether deserved or not, of being socially unacceptable or objectionable in some way. It often leads to an unofficial assumption of "guilty until proven innocent", which is not how things are supposed to work in Western democracies.
And that seems to be exactly what has happened here. It may yet come out in this political witch hunt against the federal Liberals that WE Charity is guilty of more than just a bit of financial sloppiness and a somewhat cavalier attitude towards contract law and organizational structure. But that has not happened yet, and all those corporate sponsors that are so frantically distancing themselves from WE are arguably guilty of sanctimoniousness and excessive prudence, as well as a tendency to throw partners under the bus at the first sign of trouble.

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