As Canada deals with multiple credible allegations of election meddling by China, the political establishment has been rocked by the mass resignation of Trudeau Foundation CEO, Pascale Fournier, and the entire volunteer board of the charity.
The abrupt resignation happened after public scrutiny of a US $148k donation made by two wealthy Chinese businessmen – a payment allegedly orchestrated by Beijing.
“The Trudeau Foundation said on Tuesday the “political climate” surrounding the 2016 donation “made it impossible to continue with the status quo”.
It returned the donation last month.
The sudden resignation comes as Canada grapples with allegations of election meddling by Beijing.
The charity, a scholarship organisation created to fund doctoral researchers, was founded over two decades ago in memory of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father.”
Statement from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation:
“The circumstances created by the politicization of the foundation have made it impossible to continue with the status quo, and the volunteer board of directors has resigned, as has the president and CEO.”
PM Justin Trudeau: “The Trudeau Foundation is a foundation with which I have absolutely no intersection.”
While PM Justin Trudeau has no formal involvement in the organization, and the money has been recently refunded, Trudeau is in hot water.
Leaked intelligence reports show that China attempted to interfere in the 2019 and 2021 general elections. Faced with calls to launch a national inquiry, Trudeau appointed a member of his family charity, now under suspicion of similar Chinese influence.
“Last month, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed former governor general David Johnston as a special rapporteur to investigate foreign interference in Canadian elections and institutions, including alleged meddling by the Chinese government.
The Conservatives have questioned Johnston’s impartiality, in part by pointing to Johnston’s former role as a member of the Trudeau Foundation. Foundation members are responsible for appointing the board of directors.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called for an investigation into the charity, called on Johnston to step down as special rapporteur and for the government to call a public inquiry into foreign interference.