A new shocking report alleges that China had aimed to influence Justin Trudeau after he became the Liberal Leader in 2013 by facilitating a $1 million donation that in part went to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
The Globe and Mail wrote on Tuesday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) intercepted a dialogue in 2014 between a political adviser to the Chinese government, Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin, a member of China’s foreign promotion networks and an official with China’s Canadian consulates.
During that conversation it is alleged that the topic of the 2015 election came up and that the Chinese diplomat told Zhang to donate $1 million to the Trudeau Foundation with the promise that he would later be reimbursed by Beijing.
This latest allegation comes on top of a series of Chinese election interference claims levelled against the Liberals – who are alleged to be the main beneficiaries of said operations.
After Trudeau came to power in October 2015, Zhang attended a Liberal Party fundraiser where the prime minister was a guest of honour.
A few weeks later, the Trudeau Foundation announced a $1 million donation from Zhang in “the memory” of Pierre Trudeau – $200,000 of that sum went directly to the Trudeau Foundation.
In a statement given to the Globe and Mail, the Prime Minister’s Office has denied that Trudeau was aware of the donation.
“Following his election as Leader of the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister withdrew his involvement in the affairs of the foundation for the duration of his involvement in federal politics,” press secretary Ann-Clara Vaillancourt told the outlet.
Yesterday, Trudeau denied reports that China sought to influence past elections and suggested that any claims to that effect were a form of anti-Asian racism.
“One of the things we’ve seen unfortunately over the past years is a rise in anti-Asian racism linked to the pandemic, and concerns being arisen around people’s loyalties,” said Trudeau.
Responding to a report that Liberal MP Han Dong benefitted from a Chinese influence operation that included bussing people to vote for him at a nomination meeting, Trudeau said such suggestions should “not be entertained.
“I want to make everyone understand fully: Han Dong is an outstanding member of our team, and suggestions that he is somehow not loyal to Canada should not be entertained,” said Trudeau.