Tag Archives: Trudeau Foundation

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.”

David Johnston, Trudeau’s “Special Rapporteur’ on Red Chinese Election Meddling is a Close Family Friend, a Committed Sinophile With Long Contacts With Red China

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  • National Post
  • 23 Mar 2023
  • Terry Glavin
Former governor general David Johnston has been named a “special rapporteur” into China’s interference into federal elections, but his connections to the Asian power are extensive, Terry Glavin writes.

There are so many crazy things the Trudeau government has been expecting Canadians to believe about the partisan advantage the Liberals have accrued to themselves owing to their cosy relationships with China’s agents of influence in this country that it’s really difficult to decide which is the most objectively unbelievable and easily disprovable.

It’s a target-rich environment, as military tacticians would say. But I’m going to lay out the evidence against just one howler, which is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposition that “horrific, partisan attacks against a man of extraordinary integrity” is anything like a reasonable way to characterize doubts about former Governor General David Johnston’s independence in the matter of Beijing’s influence-peddling operations in Canada.

In the muddle of the playby-play coverage of House of Commons committee manoeuvres and the fate of a resolution calling for a public inquiry into Beijing’s well-documented interference operations in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, there are two key things to keep your eye on.

The first is that Beijing’s influence operations in Canada went into hyperdrive after the Trudeau government came to power in 2015, and Beijing’s United Front Work Department undertook extraordinary clandestine measures in 2019 and 2021 to keep the Trudeau government in power. The second is that Trudeau has enlisted Johnston as his “independent special rapporteur” in the matter in order to avoid answering these straightforward questions: What did Trudeau know about what Beijing was up to, when did he know, and what did he do about it?

For argument’s sake, let’s set aside the relevance of the intimate relationship between the Johnstons and the Trudeaus — their neighbouring cottages in the Laurentians, the childhood ski trips the Trudeau boys and Johnston’s daughters went on together, and so on. You can even set aside Johnston’s role as one of the governing members of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, even though the foundation has been directly caught up in the scandal, owing to the clandestine donations the Foundation recently chose to return to a certain superrich Chinese benefactor following disclosures that the money was part of a Beijing-directed grooming operation targeting Trudeau himself, going back to 2013.

The unreported and unarguably pertinent facts to take into account involve Johnston’s own half-century of participation in Beijing’s strategy to draw Canada into its orbit of influence, and his own personal and ongoing association with figures deeply compromised by their collaboration with Chinese government institutions and by their own vested interest in the catastrophe of the Canada-china collaborations that were spun into high gear after the Trudeau Liberals came to power in 2015.

In the 1980s Johnston was laying the foundations of the Canada-china universities exchange program. Later, as president of the University of Waterloo, he oversaw the establishment of the Confucius Institute, a scandal-shredded arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda and espionage operations in western countries. Widely known in Chinese establishment circles by his nickname “Jiangshan,” Johnston was awarded an honorary doctorate by Nanjing University in 2012, by which time he’d already made more than a dozen visits to China.

Three of Johnston’s daughters attended university in China — one at Zhejiang University, Nanjing University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, another at the Beijing Language and Culture University and Hangzhou University, and the third at Fudan University in Shanghai. During a luncheon speech to the Canada-china Business Council in 2013, Johnston said it would be “wonderful” if all Canadians learned to speak Chinese.

While the federal government has been recently forced to issue strict guidelines to Canadian universities regarding the threat of technology transfers and intellectual-property accommodations with Chinese institutions, as recently as 2017 Johnston attended a conference on “science, technology and innovation” at Chongqing University where he professed a “profound Chinese complex” and boasted that even his grandchildren teach him things about China.

It’s a multi-generational “complex” the Johnston family shares with the Trudeaus, going back to Pierre Trudeau’s service to Mao Zedong during the 1960s as one of the regime’s most valued propagandists in the west. Back then, Trudeau Senior co-authored a book with his friend Jacques Hébert about their time as the regime’s invited guests during the Great Leap Forward and the famine that killed perhaps 70 million people. Trudeau and Hébert sneered at western journalists’ efforts to report on the famine and claimed to have noticed nothing more than “controlled distribution of foodstuffs.” The pair dined well during their entire time in the country.

But set aside the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation entirely. The board of directors of Johnston’s own Rideau Hall Foundation — a “parting gift” from Justin Trudeau’s government upon his departure from the Governor General’s office — is a snapshot who’s-who of Beijing’s best friends and business partners in Canada.

A Rideau Hall Foundation director emeritus is Paul Desmarais III, from the Desmarais family, which founded the Canada-china Business Council. Then there’s Dominic Barton, who served as an adviser to several Chinese state-owned enterprises and whose Mckinsey and Company consulted with Chinese corporations involved in the construction of militarized islands in the South China Sea while Barton was chair of Trudeau’s blue-chip Advisory Council on Economic Growth. Barton was appointed Canada’s ambassador to China following the firing of the disgraced John Mccallum.

There’s John Manley, the Telus director and former deputy prime minister from the exuberantly Beijing-compliant Chrétien era. Manley’s contribution to the debates about Xi Jinping’s kidnapping of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor was to suggest the Canada Border Services Agency should have surreptitiously allowed Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to evade a U.S. Justice Department extradition request.

There’s Beverley Mclachlin, who has refused to step down from her position on Hong Kong’s highest court despite Beijing’s evisceration of Hong Kong’s rule-of-law system. There’s John Montalbano, chief executive officer of the Royal Bank’s Global Asset Management arm, which manages Beijing’s global natural-resources acquisitions through China’s National Council for Social Security Fund, one of the world’s largest pension funds. On it goes like this.

Believe as much as you like that there is nothing untoward about Johnston’s appointment. And to be fair, he did a wonderful job as Governor General. A Governor General’s job is to make Canadians feel good about themselves, despite everything, and to make a convincing case that no matter how bad things look, everything’s OK.

And that is the job he’s been asked to do for Justin Trudeau in the matter of Beijing’s long and sinister reach into Canada’s democratic political institutions, and it should not be surprising if he does the job well.