(OTTAWA) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he was unaware that the Green family, with whom he spent an expensive vacation in Jamaica, had donated to the foundation that bears his father’s name.
” I did not know. I don’t have the details and the opposition is going to have to accept (that) what I’m saying is true,” Trudeau said during question period in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The day before, Radio-Canada revealed that the Prime Minister and his relatives celebrated New Year’s Eve in Jamaica for more than a week with members of this family. The Trudeaus stayed at the estate owned by the Greens where it normally costs up to thousands of dollars a night during peak season.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada has endorsed such a vacation, but according to the public broadcaster, it is unclear whether the fact that two members of the Green family made a large donation to the Trudeau Foundation in 2021 has been considered.
The prime minister said Wednesday that he was not surprised by the donation even though he knew nothing of its existence. “They’re long-time (family) friends who are interested in the same kinds of things as we are,” he said.
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet had just said he had “hard time imagining” that Mr. Trudeau was unaware of this contribution.
“Actually, I’m sure he knew that.” Let’s put it anyway. […] Why doesn’t he tell us how much the Green family gave to the Trudeau Foundation before he went to stay with the family? he launched.
Mr. Trudeau took the opportunity to reiterate that he has not been involved in the organization since becoming leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2013.
“When I say I haven’t had any engagement directly or indirectly with the Trudeau Foundation for a decade, it’s because I haven’t. So no, I wasn’t aware,” he insisted.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre seized the ball to doubt out loud.
” Really ? Because the 2022 annual report names him as an inactive member and indicates that he has retired from the affairs of the foundation for the duration of his involvement in federal politics,” he said.
Mr. Poilievre hinted that the Prime Minister will return there when he leaves politics to “get back to that big pile of money”.
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which describes itself as an independent, non-partisan scholarship organization, has been garnering attention for weeks due to a $200,000 donation from Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin and another man Chinese businessman, Niu Gensheng.
When this matter became known, the organization announced that it was refunding the donation. The $140,000 that was eventually paid out could not be returned until weeks later due to complications, La Presse reported.