Keeping an eye on Communist, Totalitarian China, and its influence both globally, and we as Canadians. I have come to the opinion that we are rarely privy to truth regarding the real goal, the agenda of Red China, and it's implications for Canada [and North America as a whole]. No more can we rely on our media as more and more information on China is actively being swept under the carpet - not for consumption.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Trudeau fundraiser with Chinese billionaires ‘does not pass the smell test,’ Tories say
Trudeau fundraiser with Chinese billionaires
‘does not pass the smell test,’ Tories say
The Opposition hammered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday over a news report that he mingled with Chinese billionaires at an exclusive Liberal fundraiser.
OTTAWA—The Liberal government’s “cash-for-access” woes deepened Tuesday as the Opposition hammered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a news report he mingled with Chinese billionaires at an exclusive Liberal Party fundraiser.
During question period in the Commons, Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose said: “Rubbing elbows with millionaires at these cash-for-access events does not pass the smell test, and the prime minister knows it. So why does he keep doing it?”
The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday on a fundraiser last May at the Toronto home of a wealthy Chinese-Canadian business executive where one of the 32 guests was a “well-heeled donor who was seeking Ottawa’s final approval to begin operating a new bank aimed at Canada’s Chinese community.”
The newspaper said Trudeau was the top draw at the $1,500-a-ticket Liberal Party event, attended by insurance tycoon Shenglin Xian, the founder of Wealth One Bank of Canada and president of Toronto-based Shenglin Financial Group Inc., who was seeking final approval from federal bank regulators to operate a domestic bank here. It had received tentative approval the year before under the Conservative government. And in July, it received final approval.
Also among the donors, according to the Globe, was Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese businessman and political advisor to the Chinese government in Beijing. The newspaper said Zhang, along with a partner, donated $1 million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Faculty of Law weeks after the fundraiser.
Trudeau did not deny the report, and was unapologetic.
He defended the political fundraising practice, repeating a stance the government has taken from the start. He said no political financing rules under the Canada Elections Act — which allows individual donations of up to $1,500 — were broken.
Ambrose suggested the contact with the prime minister was a clear conflict. “It’s not a coincidence that these billionaires that the prime minister meets with actually want something from him.”
“So you pay $1,500 for exclusive access to the prime minister and you get your final approval for your bank two months later. Not only does this event break the prime minister’s own ethics rules, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” she persisted.
Trudeau turned aside the references to his own ethical guidelines for his cabinet and again referred to the broader political financing law under the Elections Act.
Then he tried to turn tables on the Conservatives.
“We also find it peculiar the Opposition is trying to politicize that particular issue since it was their finance minister who approved that bank before they were booted out of office.”
“Class act,” retorted Ambrose.
The Conservatives and the NDP slammed the Liberals for ignoring their own rules for avoiding conflict of interest. But there is no independent arbiter of those rules. Neither the federal ethics commissioner nor the federal lobbying commissioner — whose offices are independent of the government and responsible only for reporting to Parliament — have a role in interpreting or enforcing the ethical guidelines that Trudeau said last year he “expanded or strengthened.”
The NDP’s Alexandre Boulerice was scathing about the preferential direct access to the prime minister and the ensuing donation to the Trudeau Foundation.
Boulerice recalled “the old ad” that said “There are some things money can’t buy, and for everything else there’s MasterCard. Well, get out your checkbooks ladies and gentlemen, because it seems like the entire liberal cabinet can be bought including the prime minister.”
“I’d like to ask the prime minister what’s his definition of a conflict of interest?” Boulerice demanded.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Rhéal Fortin said the government should bring back public per-vote subsidies for political parties, and roll back the individual donation limits.
The New Democrats now want to haul Liberal party officials before the House of Commons ethics committee. NDP MP Daniel Blaikie told the Star he will ask to summon Jon Dugal, the Liberal Party’s coordinator of development and events, “to testify about his role in the organization of private fundraising events involving cabinet ministers.”