Tories Ask Ethics Watchdog to Confirm Whether Trudeau Disclosed 2016 Book Deal With CCP-Controlled Publisher

By Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.
September 14, 2021 Updated: September 14, 2021

The Conservative Party is seeking confirmation from the federal ethics commissioner as to whether clearance was sought on a book deal with a Chinese state-owned publishing house that republished Justin Trudeau’s private memoirs in 2016.

“I am writing to you about concerns raised by an article published today in the Globe and Mail entitled ‘Justin Trudeau’s book was republished by a Chinese state-owned company after he became Prime Minister,’” wrote Conservative candidate Michael Barrett to Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion on Sept. 14.  

“This story reveals that after he became Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s memoir was published by a Chinese publishing company under the title, ‘The Legend Continues.’” 

According to the Globe, Trudeau’s publisher HarperCollins struck a deal with Yilin Press of Nanjing, China, which is owned by Jiangsu Phoenix Publishing and Media, a state-owned enterprise that takes orders from the propaganda department of the Jiangsu provincial Communist Party committee, to republish Trudeau’s 2014 memoir “Common Ground” in Chinese.

Barrett said the book deal was made at a time when Trudeau was actively pursuing building a relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including discussing a free trade deal and joining the Asian Infrastructure Bank.

“Subsequently Mr. Trudeau has faced many important decisions regarding Canada’s relationship with China including whether to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network, choosing to partner with a Chinese state enterprise on the development of a COVID vaccine, responding to China’s genocide against the Uighurs, and the crackdown on Hong Kong,” he wrote.

The Globe’s report noted that former senior security and foreign policy advisers to Trudeau were unaware of the book deal, and would have advised him to reject the deal if they had known about it.

Epoch Times Photo
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes a campaign stop in Vancouver, B.C., on Sept. 13, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

When asked about the issue by a Globe reporter during a campaign stop in Richmond, B.C., on Sept. 14, Trudeau said he played no role in the deal.

“The Globe and Mail knows full well that all the handling of the International editions of my book was done entirely by the publisher,” he said.

“And the globe mail knows full well, as well, that all of the profits from that book go to the Canadian Red Cross. I don’t see a single penny and I have nothing to do with where it gets translated or sold.”

When pressed about whether clearance was sought from Dion, Trudeau didn’t answer directly.

“The ethics commissioner has cleared all my sources of income many times,” he said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Liberal Party for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Barrett said that a book contract with an entity controlled by the CCP would have implications under the provisions in Section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act, which states that “no public office holder shall, in the exercise of an official power, duty or function, give preferential treatment to any person or organization based on the identity of the person or organization that represents the first-mentioned person or organization.”

He added that the provisions under section 21 of the act would also have Trudeau recuse himself on decisions related to the Chinese regime.

“It is of great importance that Canadians can trust that our leaders do not have undisclosed conflicts of interests with foreign governments,” Barrett said in the letter. 

He asked Dion to confirm whether Trudeau has disclosed the deal to him “at any point since 2016.” 

“Your attention to this matter and clarification is of the utmost importance as Canadians decide whether to reward Justin Trudeau for breaking his promise and calling an unnecessary election in the middle of a pandemic,” he wrote.

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.