Poilievre Criticizes Former Governor General Johnston Over Trudeau Foundation Links

Poilievre Criticizes Former Governor General Johnston Over Trudeau Foundation Links
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks to reporters in Calgary on Feb. 17, 2023. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)
Peter Wilson

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is criticizing former governor general David Johnston for his previous membership with the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, which has received funding from the Chinese regime in the past.

Johnston was recently appointed “independent special rapporteur” by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate Chinese interference in Canada’s elections.

“How will you investigate Beijing’s donation to the Trudeau Foundation when you were part of the Trudeau Foundation?” Poilievre wrote in a letter addressed to Johnston and posted on Twitter on April 12.

A spokesperson from Poilievre’s office confirmed to The Epoch Times that the letter was sent to Johnston’s office.

Johnston became a member of the Trudeau Foundation in 2018 and resigned following his appointment as special rapporteur on March 15.
The foundation, which describes itself as “an independent and non-partisan charity established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former prime minister [Pierre Elliott Trudeau],” the father of the current prime minister, received a $125 million endowment from the federal government in March 2002.

The foundation’s purpose is to provide scholarships and mentorship to develop “future Engaged Leaders who inspire innovative approaches as they blaze new trails in the Social Sciences and Humanities.”

In the wake of numerous reports raising allegations of interference by the Chinese regime in Canadian elections and institutions over the past several years, Johnston has been tasked by the Liberal government with investigating foreign interference in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
Johnston’s duties as special rapporteur involve reviewing investigations done by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, and recommending any additional mechanisms or processes he believes necessary for preventing future foreign interference.

Trudeau Foundation

The Globe and Mail reported on Feb. 28 that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had uncovered a 2014 plan by the Chinese regime to donate to the Trudeau Foundation, according to a national security source.

The foundation said a day after the report was published that it would return the money, stating that it could not keep “any donation that may have been sponsored by a foreign government.”

However, a report on April 12 by the French-language news outlet La Presse alleged that the foundation had not returned the donation from Beijing because the name on the cheque did not match that of the real donor.

The report was based on interviews with unidentified individuals who resigned from the Trudeau Foundation because of the internal crisis resulting from the Chinese donation.

In Winnipeg on April 12, reporters asked Trudeau if he believes Johnston should remain in his role as special rapporteur given his previous membership with the Trudeau Foundation and the potential conflict of interest that could arise should Johnston investigate the Chinese funds previously sent to the foundation.

“David Johnson is a man of great integrity,” Trudeau said. “He’s the perfect person to look into the complicated issue of foreign interference in our political system. I continue to have total confidence in him.”

Noé Chartier contributed to this report.