Au Contraire, It’s Not A “Toxic Environment”, It’s Righteous Questioning About Red Chinese Influence Peddling: They Can’t Stand the Heat — Trudeau Foundation president, board resign, citing ‘politicization’ of China-linked donation

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Trudeau Foundation president, board resign, citing ‘politicization’ of China-linked donation

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Charity’s leadership cites controversy over Beijing-linked donor to explain the move

Richard Raycraft · CBC News · Posted: Apr 11, 2023 6:51 AM PDT | Last Updated: 5 hours ago

A red and yellow Chinese flag.
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s board of directors and president have resigned, citing the political controversy from a donation a Chinese government adviser made to the charity. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s president and board of directors have resigned en masse, citing the charity’s entanglement in the ongoing foreign interference controversy.

In a statement, the foundation said that a $200,000 donation in 2016 from a businessman linked to the Chinese government “has put a great deal of pressure on the foundation’s management and volunteer board of directors, as well as on our staff and our community.” 

The charity announced last month that it would return the donation. The Conservatives criticized the government over the matter, saying the donation compromised a government report on the integrity of the 2021 federal election.

“The circumstances created by the politicization of the foundation have made it impossible to continue with the status quo, and the volunteer board of directors has resigned, as has the president and CEO,” the statement said.

WATCH Trudeau reacts to CEO, board resignations at Trudeau Foundation

Trudeau reacts to CEO, board resignations at Trudeau Foundation

7 hours agoDuration 0:55Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the foundation will continue to make a positive impact on academic institutions across the country.

The foundation is independent and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no involvement with it.

“The Trudeau Foundation is a foundation with which I have absolutely no intersection,” Trudeau told a news conference Tuesday.

“It is a shame to see the level of toxicity and political polarization that is going on in our country these days, but I am certain that the Trudeau Foundation will be able to continue to ensure that research into the social studies and humanities at the highest levels across Canadian academic institutions continues for many years to come.”

The charity, established in 2001 to honour former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, funds scholarships, mentorships and fellowships.

Last month, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed former governor general David Johnston as a special rapporteur to investigate foreign interference in Canadian elections and institutions, including alleged meddling by the Chinese government.

The Conservatives have questioned Johnston’s impartiality, in part by pointing to Johnston’s former role as a member of the Trudeau Foundation. Foundation members are responsible for appointing the board of directors.

Johnston resigned from the foundation following his appointment as special rapporteur. Trudeau has defended the choice, citing Johnston’s long career in public service.

The statement said three directors will remain on an interim basis to continue the charity’s work while a new board is appointed. The foundation’s website currently lists six members of the board of directors.

Its president and CEO, Pascale Fournier, had been in the position for almost five years.

Poilievre calls for investigation

Reacting to news of the resignations Tuesday morning, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called for an investigation into the charity.

“We need to investigate the Beijing-funded Trudeau Foundation,” Poilievre tweeted.

“We need to know who got rich, who got paid and who got privilege and power from Justin Trudeau as a result of funding to the Trudeau Foundation.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said the resignations make the 2016 donation look more suspicious. He called on Johnston to step down as special rapporteur and for the government to call a public inquiry into foreign interference.

“Nothing else will do,” Blanchet said in a French statement.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he won’t comment on the Trudeau Foundation specifically. He repeated his calls for a public inquiry.

WATCH Singh repeats call for public inquiry after Trudeau Foundation president, board resign

Singh repeats call for public inquiry after Trudeau Foundation president, board resign

6 hours agoDuration 0:57During a press conference at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ont., NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is asked about the resignation of the president and board of directors of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. A statement from the foundation said ‘the circumstances created by the politicization of the foundation have made it impossible to continue with the status quo.’

“What we’ve seen from both the Liberals and the Conservatives, they’re more interested in scoring political points, pointing fingers at each other,” Singh told a news conference.

“When it comes to something as serious as our democracy, the goal shouldn’t be to score points … We’ve been saying we need a public inquiry to get to the truth, to give Canadians confidence.”


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Tories Blast PM’s Choice of Former Trudeau Foundation Head to Write Report on Election Interference Amid Latest CSIS Leak

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands alongside National Defence Minister Anita Anand in Toronto on Feb. 24, 2023. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands alongside National Defence Minister Anita Anand in Toronto on Feb. 24, 2023. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Marnie Cathcart

By Marnie CathcartFebruary 28, 2023Updated: February 28, 2023 biggersmallerPrint

The Conservatives are crying foul over the appointment of former Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation president and CEO Morris Rosenberg to head up a panel examining foreign interference in Canadian elections.

Rosenberg was CEO in 2016 when the Trudeau Foundation received $200,000 in donations from Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese businessman tied to the Chinese communist regime, who was also in attendance at a Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraiser event in 2016 with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Conservatives issued a statement on the matter late on Feb. 27, just before a Globe and Mail report the following day citing an unnamed national security source saying that in 2014, a Chinese diplomat had instructed Zhang to donate $1 million to the Trudeau Foundation, and that Beijing would reimburse him for the amount.

The source told the Globe that the conversation was captured by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 2014, soon after Trudeau became Liberal leader in 2013. According to the Globe, the source said the diplomat and Zhang discussed the upcoming 2015 federal election, and the possibility that the Liberals could defeat the Conservatives to form government.

Shortly after the 2016 fundraiser, Zhang and another Chinese businessman donated $1 million to “honour the memory and leadership” of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, the Globe says. Of that amount, $200,000 went to the Trudeau Foundation, $50,000 toward the building of a statue of Pierre Trudeau, and $75,000 to the University of Montreal’s faculty of law, where the former prime minister had attended as a student and was later an instructor.


The Conservatives allege Trudeau handpicked Rosenberg, who is described by the Trudeau Foundation as “a previously appointed Trudeau mentor,” to write a report on foreign interference in the 2021 election.

The development comes following recent reporting based on leaked intelligence documents that China interfered in elections with the goal of electing a Liberal minority government, while obstructing some Conservative candidates.

“For months, Justin Trudeau has repeatedly attempted to deny, minimize and cover up reports of serious interference in Canadian elections,” says the Feb. 27 Conservative Party statement. “Serious questions must be asked about this appointment, and whether the Liberals are actually taking this threat against our democracy seriously.”

When tweeting the release, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre commented: “Trudeau says we shouldn’t worry about Beijing’s interference in our [elections] because he is having a report drafted on foreign interference. Who drafted it? The former head of the Trudeau Foundation—which got $200k in donations from … an official from Beijing’s communist government.”

Neither Rosenberg nor the Prime Minister’s Office replied to Epoch Times requests for comment.

Rosenberg, a former deputy minister of foreign affairs, served as president and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation from August 2014 to July 2018.

Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen, parliamentary secretary for the leader of the government in the House of Commons, said on Twitter that Poilievre is “playing a very dangerous game here.”

“To take partisan cheap shots at a dedicated public servant is truly irresponsible,” Gerretsen said on Feb. 27. “Morris Rosenberg has faithfully served Canadian (sic) for many years, including under Conservative governments.”

Rosenberg’s report on incidents of foreign interference in the 2021 election is now complete but is not yet available to the public, while the 2019 evaluation was completed about 13 months after the election that year. The panel didn’t make any announcement about foreign interference during the 2019 or 2021 elections.

CCP Ties

Zhang Bin was a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body within the Chinese communist regime. He was also president of the China Cultural Industry Association (CCIA).

According to the CCIA’s English website, the organization is “empowered to develop China’s cultural industry, to boost the soft power of Chinese culture and advance the campaign of going global of [sic] Chinese culture, while striving to become a social organization with global standing in the cultural field.”

The Epoch Times contacted Zhang for comment but didn’t hear back.

China’s Election Interference

Recent reports by the Globe and Mail and Global News cited secret CSIS documents and intelligence sources detailing widespread election interference by China in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

Among the allegations are that Beijing provided funding to some candidates in the 2019 election; a Chinese diplomat boasting that she helped defeat two Conservative candidates whose positions weren’t favourable to Beijing in the 2021 election; and Chinese authorities wanting the outcome of the 2021 election to be a Liberal minority. A Liberal minority government would best serve Beijing’s interests, while keeping the Liberals’ power in check by opposition parties, a source told the Globe.

The Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee is currently looking into the allegations in the news reports.

The Conservatives said they will be calling for a separate investigation, and for Rosenberg to appear before the committee to provide “answers on this attempt by the Liberals to paper over serious threats to our democracy.”

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.