(Ottawa) Justin Trudeau “takes Canadians for granted” when he claims he was unaware that the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation organized, in April 2016, six months after the Liberals’ victory, a meeting with deputy ministers in the Langevin Building, which houses the prime minister’s office, according to Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre.
Mr. Trudeau has been hammering for three weeks that there has been a wall between him and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation for 10 years, since he became leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. La Presse revealed on Monday that the Privy Council Office – the Prime Minister’s department – and the Foundation hosted a roundtable on pluralism in 2016 in a room in the same building as the Prime Minister’s offices.
According to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, this round table brought together, in addition to the President and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Morris Rosenberg, the deputy ministers of five departments different – the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Heritage, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Department of Employment and Social Development, and the Department of Immigration.
Two Federal Undersecretaries from the Privy Council Office also attended the 90-minute meeting, which began at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 2016 in room 415 on the fourth floor – a room that is sometimes used by the office of the prime minister.
The head of the Foundation at the time, Morris Rosenberg, who was previously deputy minister for global affairs, also assured that Justin Trudeau was not at the table. “The Prime Minister was not there, absolutely not,” he confirmed over the phone, describing the objectives of the meeting as explained in the documents.
In the Commons on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and Bloc Québécois House Leader Alain Therrien questioned that assertion.
“We wondered why China was so keen on getting closer to the Trudeau Foundation. La Presse gives the answer this morning. In 2016, at the same time that China was writing him a big check, the Trudeau Foundation participated in a meeting directly at the Prime Minister’s Office with not one, not two, not three, but five deputy ministers. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister keeps repeating that he has had no connection with the Foundation for 10 years. Does he ignore what’s going on in his own office or does he take Quebecers for granted? “added Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien later.
He later called again for an independent public inquiry into Chinese interference.
In the absence of the Prime Minister, it was the Leader of the Government in the House, Mark Holland, who responded to numerous salvos from the opposition parties.
Mr. Holland reaffirmed that Mr. Trudeau has had no connection, direct or indirect, with the Trudeau Foundation for more than 10 years. And he pointed out that the Prime Minister was not informed of the holding of this meeting.
“As the Prime Minister has stated on several occasions, he has no direct or indirect connection with the Foundation. It is clear and I can repeat it over and over again. But facts matter in the House. Maybe the member opposite is considering another career and wants to write novels. But the facts are important,” he said.
According to the opposition parties, this case raises many questions about the closeness between Justin Trudeau and the foundation that bears the name of his father. Especially since this is in addition to revelations that a key employee in the Justin Trudeau’s office, Zita Astravas, in November 2016 demanded details from the Trudeau Foundation about a “Chinese donation” that had been made to the Foundation. five months earlier. The daily newspaper The Globe and Mail then investigated the source of this donation.