Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he has no ties to a foundation set up in his father’s name — an organization that received some $200,000 in donations from Chinese billionaires shortly after they hosted him for a private dinner.
“I have not been in any way associated formally, or informally, with Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in many, many, years,” he told reporters after arriving in Liberia for the first leg of a trip to Africa.
“I stepped down from any of my family-related responsibilities shortly after having gotten elected, in order to demonstrate that there is a tremendous separation there.”
Trudeau said the foundation was established as an “educational scholarship” program, and collects donations to fund research into the humanities.
He said the foundation has recruited mentors and board members from all political parties, such as former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl and NDP MP Megan Leslie, and “they will reassure you that they’re very much separate from anything I do as prime minister or as leader of the Liberal Party.”
That Trudeau attended the fundraiser in May at the Toronto home of Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese-Canadian businessman who is also a political adviser to the government in China.
Also attending $1,500-a-plate fundraiser was Shenglin Xian, who at the time was awaiting approval from federal regulators for his bank to operate in Canada. Wealth One Bank of Canada was given final approval a few months later in July, according to the report.
The two businessmen also donated $750,000 to University of Montreal Faculty of Law for scholarships, and $50,000 to build a statue of the former prime minister.
While the prime minister has previously faced questions about his cabinet ministers headlining fundraisers, data produced by the Liberal Party and supplied to CBC News shows that Trudeau himself has also been a mainstay at 19 party events.
Many of the events had a ticket price of $1,500 a person.
While the prime minister has previously faced questions about his cabinet ministers headlining fundraisers, data produced by the Liberal Party and supplied to shows that Trudeau himself has also been a mainstay at 19 party events. Many of the events had a ticket price of $1,500 a person.