FOLLOW THE MONEY, PART 1 — THE WESTON FAMILY
You’ve seen him in television ads hyping President’s Choice dessert ideas, naming fake supermarkets after enthusiastic customers, sitting down with moms around the kitchen table and talking to President’s Choice farmers on their hormone-free farms.
He’s Galen Weston Jr., executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Ltd. And while he, or his media handlers, hone the image of Galen among the common folk—top shirt button always undone—the reality is that he’s next in line to head Canada’s second-wealthiest family, with a 2014 net worth of $10.4 billion, a 26-percent increase over 2013.
The Weston family does many good things with its vast fortune, such as fund health research, university scholarships and private land conservation. At the same time, though, it has probably done more to undermine public education in Canada than anyone else. The family foundation has donated nearly $22 million to the Fraser Institute for its programs to destabilize the public education system and promote school choice and vouchers.
Milton Friedman was the inspiration for these programs. His 1995 Washington Post editorial said it all: “Public schools: Make them private.” And that’s what the Weston-Fraser partnership has set out to do.