Home FAQ Search Memberlist User Groups Register Login   

BloggingTories.ca Forum IndexBloggingTories.ca Forum Index
    Index     FAQ     Search     Register     Login         JOIN THE DISCUSSION - CLICK HERE      

*NEW* Login or register using your Facebook account.

Not a member? Join the fastest growing conservative community!
Membership is free and takes 15 seconds

CLICK HERE or use Facebook to login or register ----> Connect

Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next  

Post new topic   Reply to topic Page 2 of 4
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Posts: 5406
Reputation: 273.8
votes: 8

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember how Elections Canada had a Globe and Mail reporter up early in the morning so they could witness and publicize some supposed violations that the Conservative Party was thought to be committing?

I hope they are equally watchful over the Liberals ... but I doubt it.

They probably are looking the other way.

Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
Remember how Elections Canada had a Globe and Mail reporter up early in the morning so they could witness and publicize some supposed violations that the Conservative Party was thought to be committing?

I hope they are equally watchful over the Liberals ... but I doubt it.

They probably are looking the other way.

there has been a lot in the globe and mail about these fundraisers , they have done more digging on this story than you'd expect .

but its clear these fundraisers are being organized by those at the top of the liberal party and as a way to close the gap or even pass the conservatives in terms of fundraising , which it appears they may of done last quarter , it shouldn't be a surprise there is some people willing to donate big $ money to the liberals in the hopes they get better access and voices heard by cabinet ministers

Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( more questionable behaviour from PM trudeau and these fundraisers has come to light )

Trudeau attended cash-for-access fundraiser with Chinese billionaires

Robert Fife AND Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 5:00AM EST

Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 5:11AM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the top draw at a $1,500 Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraiser at the mansion of a wealthy Chinese-Canadian business executive in May. One of the guests at the event was a well-heeled donor who was seeking Ottawa’s final approval to begin operating a new bank aimed at Canada’s Chinese community.

The Globe and Mail has learned that wealthy Chinese businessman Zhang Bin who, with a partner, donated $1-million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Faculty of Law weeks after the fundraiser, also attended the event. Mr. Zhang is a political adviser to the Chinese government in Beijing and a senior apparatchik in the network of Chinese state promotional activities around the world.

Chinese Business Chamber of Commerce chair Benson Wong played host to Mr. Trudeau and 32 other people at his Toronto home. Among the donors was insurance tycoon Shenglin Xian, the founder of Wealth One Bank of Canada, and several Chinese billionaires.

At the time, Mr. Xian, president of Toronto-based Shenglin Financial Group Inc., was waiting for final approval from federal bank regulators for his Schedule 1 bank to start business in Canada. Schedule 1 banks are domestic, not foreign, and authorized to accept deposits in Canada.

Attending the fundraiser appears to breach the ethical rules laid down by Mr. Trudeau after he took office. These “Open and Accountable Government” rules state “there should be no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

The fundraiser also appears to violate Liberal Party guidelines that require party officials to ban anyone from attending a fundraiser if they have direct business interests before the government.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), which reports to Parliament through Finance Minister Bill Morneau, gave the final okay for Wealth One to launch as a federally chartered domestic bank on July 19 with online banking services supported by offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Canada’s banking watchdog assesses applications for new banks in a multistage process that includes consultation with the Finance Department.

Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley played down the presence of Mr. Xian at the elite Trudeau fundraiser, and maintained Wealth One’s application was not discussed.

“As we have been clear, fundraising events are partisan functions where there is not discussion of official government business. Any individual who wishes to initiate a discussion on such matters is immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the relevant office,” Mr. Caley said in an e-mail to The Globe. “As a political party, the Liberal Party of Canada is not aware of proposals to government – and any such information sharing would be inappropriate.”

Mr. Caley referred The Globe to an official in Mr. Morneau’s office. The official said Wealth One got tentative approval with letters of patent from Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver on July 22, 2015. OSFI did not seek or require Mr. Morneau’s July 19, 2016, approval, the official said.

Mr. Xian, who emigrated from China to Canada in 1990 and quickly became one of the country’s top insurance agents, did not respond to repeated attempts from The Globe for comment.

NDP MP Charlie Angus said the Prime Minister had “really stepped over the line” and “set a low bar” by attending the private fundraiser.

“I find this particular case very troubling because this is a person who has a direct financial interest, paid money, had access to the Prime Minister and whether business was discussed is beside the point,” Mr. Angus told The Globe.

Just weeks after the May fundraiser, the Trudeau Foundation and the university announced that Mr. Zhang, who is also president of the China Cultural Industry Association, and another wealthy Chinese businessman, Niu Gensheng, would donate $1-million to the University of Montreal and the Trudeau Foundation “to honour the memory and leadership” of the former prime minister, who opened diplomatic relations with China in 1970. Of the $1-million endowment, $200,000 went to the Trudeau Foundation, $50,000 will pay for the statue of the elder Mr. Trudeau, and $750,000 will fund University of Montreal Faculty of Law scholarships, which include grants for Quebec students to visit China.

The China Cultural Industry Association, which is supervised and regulated by two Chinese state ministries, aims to build international ties for Beijing.

There is no evidence Mr. Zhang paid to attend the fundraiser, and as a foreign citizen, he cannot make federal political donations. Mr. Niu was not at the event.

Another Chinese billionaire, Ted Jiancheng Zhou, a real estate developer who now lives in Canada, also paid $1,500 to attend the private Trudeau event, as did Jenny Qi, a movie actress, real estate investor and president of the Canada Confederation of Shenzhen Associations. Bob Guo, the chief executive officer of Goldenmount Capital International, was at the fundraiser, but The Globe was unable to determine if he paid the $1,500-per-person ticket price.

Photographs from the May 19 fundraiser in Mr. Wong’s home show Mr. Trudeau speaking to the group with Canadian and Chinese flags in the background. Among the guests was Liu Meng, chairman of the Yangtze River International Chamber of Commerce, which is opening a branch in Canada.

Mr. Liu, a member of China’s Communist Party, has been praised by China’s state media for “seeking out overseas delegates for future business co-operation … and to invest abroad and expand into the global market.”

A photo of Mr. Liu beside the Prime Minister appeared in the Yangtze River Network, a Chinese-run government media outlet based in Wuhan. The Liberal Party said Mr. Liu did not make any personal donations.

“It is our understanding that Liu Meng attended as a friend and guest of the volunteer in whose home the event was hosted, and that he made no political contribution in association with his attendance that evening,” Mr. Caley said.

Mr. Trudeau was also photographed with Xiangton Zhao, a multimillionaire from China focused on property investment and development. There is no record of Mr. Zhao making a donation.

Some of the investors in Wealth One have close ties to China’s Communist regime, including bank director Yuansheng Ou Yang, an owner of a string of Yuan Ming supermarkets in Canada and businesses in China’s Fujian province.

His biography on the Wealth One website says that before he immigrated to Canada in 1990, Mr. Ou Yang was a member of the National People’s Congress, which is China’s legislature, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory board for China’s leaders.

Another director is Mao Hua Chen, a wealthy Vancouver real estate developer, who along with his wife, Mingyan Lin, are listed as key investors in Wealth One. The couple also operate the North America Investment and Trade Promotion Association, which pushes for close economic ties between Canada, China and the United States.

The Prime Minister has come under fire for cash-for-access fundraisers at homes or hotels where Canadians pay up to $1,525 to rub shoulders with Liberal ministers in charge of major spending and policy decisions.

Last Tuesday, Liberal MPs voted down a Conservative Party motion backed by the New Democrats that would have transferred the Open and Accountable rules on lobbying and fundraising to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson. This would have given Ms. Dawson’s office the legal power to crack down on such events.

Ms. Dawson has called the cash-for-access system “not very savoury,” while federal Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd has launched an investigation into the practice after Globe articles revealed that business executives with financial interests before the government were buying tickets to attend events with senior ministers.

“During their first year in office, the Liberals have held more than 80 cash-for-access fundraising events featuring lobbyists, lawyers and important stakeholder groups currently doing business with the Government of Canada,” Conservative MP Blaine Calkins said.

The Liberal Party said in a Nov. 4 letter to all cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries that it takes stringent steps to weed people out of fundraisers if they have direct business dealings with the government


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( this event is starting to look worse and worse for trudeau as more information comes out about it )

Trudeau fundraiser with Chinese billionaires ‘does not pass the smell test’: Opposition

'Does not pass the smell test.'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under fire for a Liberal Party fundraiser.

By Tonda MacCharlesOttawa Bureau reporter
Alex BoutilierOttawa Bureau Reporter

Tues., Nov. 22, 2016

OTTAWA—The Liberal government’s “cash-for-access” woes deepened Tuesday as the Opposition hammered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a news report he mingled with Chinese billionaires at an exclusive Liberal Party fundraiser.

During question period in the Commons, Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose said: “Rubbing elbows with millionaires at these cash-for-access events does not pass the smell test, and the prime minister knows it. So why does he keep doing it?”

The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday on a fundraiser last May at the Toronto home of a wealthy Chinese-Canadian business executive where one of the 32 guests was a “well-heeled donor who was seeking Ottawa’s final approval to begin operating a new bank aimed at Canada’s Chinese community.”

The newspaper said Trudeau was the top draw at the $1,500-a-ticket Liberal Party event, attended by insurance tycoon Shenglin Xian, the founder of Wealth One Bank of Canada and president of Toronto-based Shenglin Financial Group Inc., who was seeking final approval from federal bank regulators to operate a domestic bank here. It had received tentative approval the year before under the Conservative government. And in July, it received final approval.

Also among the donors, according to the Globe, was Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese businessman and political advisor to the Chinese government in Beijing. The newspaper said Zhang, along with a partner, donated $1 million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Faculty of Law weeks after the fundraiser.

Trudeau did not deny the report, and was unapologetic.

He defended the political fundraising practice, repeating a stance the government has taken from the start. He said no political financing rules under the Canada Elections Act — which allows individual donations of up to $1,500 — were broken.

Ambrose suggested the contact with the prime minister was a clear conflict. “It’s not a coincidence that these billionaires that the prime minister meets with actually want something from him.”

“So you pay $1,500 for exclusive access to the prime minister and you get your final approval for your bank two months later. Not only does this event break the prime minister’s own ethics rules, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” she persisted.

Trudeau turned aside the references to his own ethical guidelines for his cabinet and again referred to the broader political financing law under the Elections Act.

Then he tried to turn tables on the Conservatives.

“We also find it peculiar the Opposition is trying to politicize that particular issue since it was their finance minister who approved that bank before they were booted out of office.”

“Class act,” retorted Ambrose.

The Conservatives and the NDP slammed the Liberals for ignoring their own rules for avoiding conflict of interest. But there is no independent arbiter of those rules. Neither the federal ethics commissioner nor the federal lobbying commissioner — whose offices are independent of the government and responsible only for reporting to Parliament — have a role in interpreting or enforcing the ethical guidelines that Trudeau said last year he “expanded or strengthened.”

The NDP’s Alexandre Boulerice was scathing about the preferential direct access to the prime minister and the ensuing donation to the Trudeau Foundation.

Boulerice recalled “the old ad” that said “There are some things money can’t buy, and for everything else there’s MasterCard. Well, get out your checkbooks ladies and gentlemen, because it seems like the entire liberal cabinet can be bought including the prime minister.”

“I’d like to ask the prime minister what’s his definition of a conflict of interest?” Boulerice demanded.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Rhéal Fortin said the government should bring back public per-vote subsidies for political parties, and roll back the individual donation limits.

The New Democrats now want to haul Liberal party officials before the House of Commons ethics committee. NDP MP Daniel Blaikie told the Star he will ask to summon Jon Dugal, the Liberal Party’s coordinator of development and events, “to testify about his role in the organization of private fundraising events involving cabinet ministers.”


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trudeau appears to be breaking his own rules: Paul Wells

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to "uphold the highest standards of integrity and impartiality both in our public and private affairs.” But a recent meeting with senior members of the Chinese-Canadian community raised questions about his promise. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

By Paul Wells National Affairs

Tues., Nov. 22, 2016

Justin Trudeau’s government was three weeks old when his office released ethics guidelines for cabinet ministers.

Trudeau was eager for everyone to notice.

“We will uphold the highest standards of integrity and impartiality both in our public and private affairs,” Trudeau said in the accompanying news release. “The documents we are releasing today provide guidance on how we must go about our responsibilities as ministers, and I encourage Canadians to read them and to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments.”

So why don’t we?

Let’s begin down here, under Section IV.1, Ministerial Conduct: Cabinet ministers “have an obligation to perform their official duties and arrange their private affairs in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny. This obligation is not fully discharged merely by acting within the law.”

From there it’s a short hop to Annex B, Fundraising and Dealing With Lobbyists. “Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must ensure that political fundraising activities or considerations do not affect, or appear to affect, the exercise of their official duties or the access of individuals or organizations to government.” Well, that can be a tough call, after all. With a government like this one, one that’s trying to do absolutely everything all at once, who can tell what affects the exercise of their duties? Perhaps there’s some simpler test.

Ah. Next paragraph: “There should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.”

So it would be a bad thing for people doing business with the government to be able to buy access to cabinet ministers by making large contributions to the Liberal party?

And yet it has become rather a common thing. From Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who appeared at a fundraiser lawyers had paid $500 to attend, to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who appears at lots of Liberal fundraisers with tickets costing from $500 to $1,500, it seems the surest way to meet a senior cabinet minister is to write a cheque to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Why has Trudeau not intervened? Perhaps because he has been setting the example for his colleagues. The Globe and Mail reports that Trudeau attended a $1,500-a-head party fundraiser in Toronto in May attended by senior figures in the Chinese-Canadian community.

The Liberal party line is that government business was not addressed at the dinner. But the dinner wasn’t announced at the time. And nobody is telling us what was discussed. So we’re just going to have to take their word on it.

There remains the nagging business of those Open and Accountable Government guidelines, which Trudeau was so eager for everyone to read a year ago. “Hold us accountable,” he said. “No… appearance of preferential access,” the guidelines said. “Merely acting within the law” isn’t enough, they said.

There’s a handy way to check whether there’s the appearance of preferential access. Have you given the Liberals $1,500 this year? Did you meet Trudeau in a great big Toronto house in May? If you answered “No” to both questions, you might just have found the appearance of preferential access. For other people.

In the House of Commons, Trudeau and the government House leader, Bardish Chagger insist they’ve followed the rules. The referees are less sure. Mary Dawson, the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, wants laws changed to restrict this pay-to-play access, which she calls “not very savoury.” Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd is investigating the fundraisers.

Why do the Liberals persist? Two reasons, I think. First, this government really does put a high value on meetings with the very “elites” that Conservative MP Kellie Leitch is trying to run against in her campaign for her party’s leadership. Trudeau spends part of his time bragging about discussing government business in personal meetings with plutocrats — at Davos, at this month’s BlackRock investors summit in Toronto — and part of his time denying he’s discussed government business in personal meetings with plutocrats, at these fundraisers. It must be a challenge to keep the two classes of meetings separate in his mind.

Second, the Liberals are haunted by the decade they spent taking a thumping at the hands of the Conservatives in quarterly fundraising tallies. The Conservatives are still formidable fundraisers, usually from donors who each give smaller amounts than does the average Liberal donor.

But what’s toxic to Trudeau’s credibility is the way he combines the two projects, hobnobbing and fundraising. He could meet all the swells he wants, as long as he doesn’t charge admission. In the meantime he and his ministers do what he bragged they wouldn’t. A classic case of promising more than he feels like delivering.

Paul Wells is a national affairs writer. His column appears Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trudeau Fundraiser with Chinese Canadian Business Leaders Raises ‘Cash For Access’ Concerns

Event at Toronto home broke no rules, says Liberal spokesman.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall , 16 Nov 2016 | TheTyee.ca

Jeremy J. Nuttall is The Tyee’s reader-funded Parliament Hill reporter in Ottawa. Find his previous stories here.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Toronto private fundraising evening with Chinese-Canadian business leaders broke no rules, a Liberal party spokesperson said Tuesday.

The May 19 exclusive event wasn’t revealed on Trudeau’s daily itinerary, which said Trudeau was spending the day in “private meetings.”

But Dawa News, a Chinese-language business news website, reported the dinner party took place at the home of Toronto businessman Benson Wong, chair of the Chinese Business Chamber of Canada.

Trudeau held two events in Toronto that day, both asking for $1,525 donations from people who wanted to spend time with the prime minister.

Photos of the fundraiser have been posted on Dawa and other news sites and the website of a financial firm. They show a relaxed Trudeau drinking beer and helping to make dumplings for about 35 attendees. He gave a speech on China-Canada relations, Chinese-language media reported.

Liberal communications director Braeden Caley confirmed Trudeau was at a fundraiser at a private home in Toronto that evening.

“As one would expect, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau meets with thousands of people each month, at a wide variety of events and meetings all across Canada,” Caley said in an email. “Mr. Trudeau attended a fundraising event on May 19 of this year in the private residence of a volunteer.”

The Dawa News article lists representatives of Chinese-Canadian business groups at the fundraiser.

They include Shenglin Xian, the founder of Wealth One Bank of Canada, a bank aimed at Chinese Canadians. Xian posted photos of himself and Trudeau at the dinner on his company’s web page.

Another dinner guest was Liu Meng, chairman of the Yangtze River International Chamber of Commerce, which is opening a branch in Canada.

‘Stand Up to China on Rights,’ Jan Wong Tells Trudeau
read more
His photo appears with Trudeau in the publication Yangtze River Network, a Chinese-government-run media outlet based in Wuhan, China.

Liu has travelled the world on behalf of the association forging business ties, including with former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi.

Caley said Liu, as a Chinese resident, was at the dinner as a guest of the host and did not make a political contribution or pay to attend.

The Liberals have been slammed for “cash for access” fundraisers that critics say offer those with money the chance to lobby the prime minister and cabinet members.

Trudeau is reported to have held a similar fundraiser at a private home in Vancouver on Nov. 7.

Last month groups concerned about human rights in China complained the Liberal government is paying far more attention to Beijing-friendly business groups than to human rights groups.

Caley said Trudeau and other Liberal MPs have been at hundreds of outreach events across Canada for different causes. [Tyee]


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trudeau 'cash-for-access' fundraiser parallels Hillary

J.J. MCCULLOUGH, Special to the Toronto Sun

First posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 06:43 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 07:59 PM EST

If the jury is still out regarding whether would-be Tory boss Kellie Leitch — she of the immigrant “values” tests — deserves to be called “Canada’s Trump,” we at least have a pretty clear idea of who’s “Canada’s Hillary.”

On Tuesday, The Globe and Mail blew the lid off an apparent “cash-for-access” fundraiser involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the parallels with America’s recent presidential also-ran are eerie.

Like the Clintons, the Trudeau family has its very own save-the-world NGO — the “Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation” — run by a board full of various washed-up but well-connected politicians, bureaucrats and CEOs (Justin himself only quit in 2015).

Like the Clinton Foundation, it seems to exist primarily to keep the family brand in good graces through vague and innocuous activism. And like the Clinton Foundation, it seems to have no problem swallowing large sums of foreign cash.

Which is exactly what the Globe says they got from Zhang Bin, president of the China Cultural Industry Association, an authorized organ of the Chinese state that lobbies abroad for Beijing’s interests.

Zhang apparently spearheaded a $200,000 donation to the Trudeau foundation shortly after attending a Liberal Party fundraiser last May, which included a who’s-who of the globalist Chinese elite. In addition, the Globe reported, $50,000 was donated to pay for a statue of Pierre Trudeau, and another $750,000 will go to fund University of Montreal Faculty of Law scholarships.

Canadian campaign finance laws forbid foreign donations and explicit quid-pro-quo, but creative minds can get around this.

The Globe reports the fundraiser in question also featured the attendance of Shenglin Xian, boss of something called Wealth One Bank, which aims to help Canada’s “Chinese community” with their evidently distinctive banking needs. In July, it received authorization from the Trudeau government to begin operations and opened its first branches in Vancouver and Toronto a couple months later.

Anyone paying attention will be well aware of this country’s slow-motion transformation into an overseas safe space for the wealth of China’s nouveau-riche commie kleptocrats, which organizations like Wealth One obviously aim to serve. Liberals, like Trudeau, are disposed to regard this as completely untroubling, since their ideology deems the “rise of China” as something glamorous and exciting, mostly because they assume it’ll help curb the power of the wicked United States.

Ironic then, that our prime minister now finds himself mired in a scandal so utterly reminiscent of one that just finished enrapturing Americans.

I’ve often said that every criticism Donald Trump made of the elite in his country could be easily applied to Canada — all you have to do was dial it up a few degrees.

Our Ottawa swamp is in desperate need of a draining.

— McCullough is a political commentator and cartoonist from Vancouver.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tories turn up heat on Trudeau over private cash-for-access fundraiser


First posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 06:55 PM EST | Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 07:02 PM EST

OTTAWA — Conservative MPs used their strongest rhetoric yet on Wednesday to question the prime minister’s decision to attend a private fundraiser with “billionaire communist donors.”

Seizing on the narrative that the Liberals remain a party of entitlements, opposition MPs agreed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not break any political financing laws when he attended a private, $1,500-a-plate fundraising event in May that included one person who helped fund Trudeau’s leadership bid and another who subsequently made a $1 million donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Conservative MP Blaine Calkins said Trudeau broke the spirit of the law and his own ethical standards set out to cabinet ministers that they must avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“The Liberals don’t have a problem following the rules — they have an ethical problem following their own rules that the prime minister has set out for himself. He set the bar here for his government’s ethical behaviour,” Calkins said.

“We’re not talking about the election financing laws, we’re talking about the bar that was set here. He has failed miserably to come close to even meeting that standard. This is about his rules, it’s about his word, it’s about his promise to this House and to Canadians.”

Liberal MPs said there can’t be a conflict of interest if Trudeau didn’t break any fundraising laws.

“When you are following the laws, there cannot be a conflict of interest. The Conservatives know that because we are following the same rules that the Conservatives had in place when they were in government,” said Kevin Lamoureux, parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Last week, the online news site The Tyee first reported on the dinner, citing reports in ethnic media.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that among those attending were businessman Zhang Bin, president of the state-approved China Cultural Industry Association and the president of Toronto-based Shenglin Financial Group Inc., Shenglin Xian, who was looking for final approval from the Canadian government to operate a domestic branch of Wealth One Bank of Canada after receiving tentative approval from the previous Conservative government.

The newspaper reported that Bin and a partner subsequently made a $1 million donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal Faculty of Law. The foundation is a charitable organization which promotes research in the humanities and social sciences.

The Liberals pointed out that the foundation is non-political and its board of directors includes former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl and former New Democrat MP Megan Leslie

Xian, has been a regular donor to the Liberal party since 2011. Elections Canada records show he has given a total of $3,787 to the Liberals during that time, including a $1,200 donation in April 2013 to help Trudeau when he was running for party leader.

The Liberals were peppered with questions in the Commons about political financing. They dismissed links between the $1 million donation and the event as conspiracy theories that had no basis in reality. Francois-Philippe Champagne, parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, said the political fundraising system is transparent.

Trudeau was not in the House of Commons on Wednesday as he left for an official visit to Liberia.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said earlier in the day that there was no reason for Trudeau to skip the afternoon question period.

“Pay for access is a real embarrassment for Mr. Trudeau because he set the bar high,” Mulcair told reporters after a caucus meeting.

“Pay for access was supposed to be over once the Liberals came to power, and now we see that it’s continuing. Mr. Trudeau is refusing to provide answers and Canadians have every right to wonder why.”


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liberal-linked Canada 2020, seeks insulation against cash-for-access inferno

Canada 2020 co-founder Susan Smith and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are shown in a handout photo....

Canada 2020 co-Canada 2020 recently introduced a new donor agreement that must be signed by any company or group that gives it money, making it clear that the donation won't buy access to the prime minister, his cabinet ministers or anyone else who attends the organization's events. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Flickr-Canada 2020)

Joan Bryden and Joanna Smith, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Nov 23, 2016
, Last Updated: 10:28 PM ET

OTTAWA — A not-for-profit think-tank founded by Liberals with close personal ties to Justin Trudeau is trying to insulate itself from the cash-for-access inferno that is scorching the federal government.

Canada 2020 recently introduced a new donor agreement that must be signed by any company or group that gives it money, making it clear that the donation won’t buy access to the prime minister, his cabinet ministers or anyone else who attends the organization’s events.

It has also recently implemented a new policy prohibiting active lobbyists from sitting on its board of directors.

Trudeau has attended at least three events organized by Canada 2020 — two exclusive events with the prime minister during his first official visit to Washington last March and an “after party” last June at a swank Ottawa restaurant following the North American Leaders’ Summit.

His cabinet ministers are also regular attendees and speakers at Canada 2020’s policy conferences and related receptions.

The think-tank relies on contributions from companies, unions, trade associations, lobbying firms and others — what it calls “sustaining partners,” including TD Bank, Manulife, Suncor, Enbridge, RioTinto, Telus and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, many of whom lobby the federal government — to finance its day-to-day operations. And it also relies on sponsors to help finance specific conferences and other events.

Canada 2020 spokesman Alex Paterson refused to disclose how much money such partners and sponsors pay and, as a not-for-profit organization, the think-tank is not obligated to make its financial statements public. But attendees at past events privately say a contribution can run to tens of thousands of dollars.

Paterson confirmed that donors are entitled to attend Canada 2020 events to which they’ve contributed — where they could easily wind up rubbing shoulders with cabinet ministers or even Trudeau himself. But he said the organization has taken steps to ensure donors understand what they’re paying for.

“In accepting that (financial) support, our job is to be clear about what that does and does not entail,” he said in an email exchange with The Canadian Press.

“We have recently introduced a strict donor agreement which makes clear the limits of partnership.”

The agreement spells out that the contribution is “not intended, directly or indirectly, as a means to gain access to, or obtain an audience with, any speaker, attendee or any other person at or connected with any program or event hosted or arranged by or on behalf of Canada 2020.”

Canada 2020 bills itself as “Canada’s leading, independent, progressive think-tank,” but it is closely connected with the Liberals and Trudeau personally.

Its president is Tom Pitfield, a childhood friend of Trudeau’s who was the Liberals’ chief digital strategist during last year’s election campaign. He is married to Anna Gainey, president of the Liberal Party of Canada. The couple was photographed last summer vacationing with the Trudeau family in Tofino, B.C.

The think-tank was founded 10 years ago, when the Liberals were in opposition, by Pitfield and three other longtime Grits: Eugene Lang, Susan Smith and Tim Barber. Smith and Barber are principals at the lobbying firm Bluesky Strategy Group, which is also one of Canada 2020’s donor partners.

In accordance with Canada 2020’s new policy, Smith, a registered lobbyist, recently left the think-tank’s board of directors. Barber, who does “no registerable lobbying,” remains on the board.

Lang has not been involved with the think-tank or Bluesky, for which he once worked with, since the spring of 2013.

The think tank’s website and social media feeds are replete with copious photos of event attendees — including Smith and Pitfield — chatting or posing with Trudeau and various ministers.

Following Canada 2020’s events in Washington, the Conservatives accused the government of helping its lobbyist friends and offering access to the prime minister in return for donations — the same accusation now being levelled over so-called “cash-for-access” Liberal fundraising events that feature Trudeau or some of his ministers. The Tories asked both the federal ethics and lobbying commissioners to investigate the matter.

Paterson said both watchdogs “agreed there was no issue and did not pursue the Conservative opposition’s complaint.”

Smith is currently registered to lobby a number of federal departments, including the Prime Minister’s Office, on behalf of clients who include at least one Canada 2020 sponsor, Suncor, and others who’ve attended or participated in the think tank’s events.

One of Smith’s clients, Actua, an Ottawa-based charity that promotes youth engagement in science, provides one example of how close the ties are between Bluesky and Canada 2020.

In June, Actua president Jennifer Flanagan was invited to attend the exclusive after-party hosted by Canada 2020 to celebrate the end of Trudeau’s summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Trudeau and numerous ministers attended the party, including Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu, for whose department Smith is registered to lobby on Actua’s behalf.

Also in attendance was Small Business Minister Bardish Chagger’s chief of staff, Rachel Bendayan. According to the lobbyist registry, Smith had met Bendayan earlier that month to discuss employment, training, science and technology on behalf of Actua.

Flanagan, who has participated in a number of Canada 2020 conferences over the years, said she was invited to the party by the think tank. Actua’s spokeswoman, Kristina Martin, also attended and said she and Flanagan didn’t know who would be at the party, which she described as a “large social event.”

Asked if Flanagan spoke to any ministers or MPs about Actua, Martin said in an email: “As the CEO of a national charitable organization, Jennifer, like anyone in conversation at any event, will naturally speak about where she works.”

Registered lobbyists are required to file monthly reports on “oral and arranged communications” with designated public office holders, which includes ministers, MPs, senators, staffers and bureaucrats.

But Smith, who filed no such report on the after-party, said she does no lobbying at Canada 2020 events.

“Certainly, if I’m at a Canada 2020 event, I have a Canada 2020 hat on and that’s it,” she said in an interview, adding that the after-party was strictly a social occasion where it was impossible to predict who would show up.

“Canada 2020 follows the rules and Bluesky Strategy Group, like every other lobby firm in Ottawa, follows the rules. We can’t be in business if we don’t follow the rules and we take that very seriously.”

If the Conservatives are now going to question the propriety of lobbyists attending Canada 2020 events or companies helping to sponsor them, Smith said the same logic would suggest every conference and social occasion in the country involving a minister would have to be shut down “for fear that somebody may speak to a cabinet minister in a casual conversation.”

Tories should also explain why it was appropriate when the Conservatives were in power to have a number of ministers — John Baird, Lisa Raitt, Diane Finley and Jason Kenney among them — as featured speakers at the think tank’s conferences, she added.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the better question might be what was Chuck Strahl doing as a director of the trudeau foundation in the first place ? )

Ex-MP Chuck Strahl resigns from Trudeau Foundation


OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 11:39AM EST

Former Conservative MP Chuck Strahl has resigned as a director of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in the wake of revelations that a $1-million donation to the organization and University of Montreal was made by senior apparatchiks in Chinese state-run organizations whose purpose is to project Beijing’s influence abroad.

In a resignation letter, Mr. Strahl says what actually prompted him to quit is that Liberal MPs are invoking his directorship in their defence of the contribution which includes $50,000 to go towards erecting a statue of the former prime minister in Montreal.

“I cannot allow them to imply that my position with the foundation somehow justifies their actions,” Mr. Strahl wrote.

The former B.C. MP, who served as a minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, told the foundation he will not allow his name to be employed to defend what has taken place.

“While I have always supported the goals of the foundation to promote discussion of and education in the humanities, I am unwilling to be used as a foil for the Liberal Party of Canada, who has chosen to use my participation in foundation activities as some sort of cover for their own questionable conduct,” Mr. Strahl told foundation president Morris Rosenberg.

In the Commons Wednesday, Liberal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc tried to deflect criticism of the the foundation by telling Conservative MPs to ask Mr. Strahl as a director what he thinks of the Trudeau Foundation and its avowed independence.

“Since my role as a director has been raised by representatives of The Liberal Party of Canada on the floor of the House of Commons, it has now become a political football that I wanted no part of,” Mr. Strahl said in his letter to the foundation.

The $1-million donation has become intertwined with controversial Liberal Party fundraisers because one of the donors showed up at a $1,500-ticket fundraiser May 19 in Toronto where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the star attraction.

Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese businessman, attended the dinner. He was one of three guests at the Trudeau event who are senior players in Chinese state-controlled entities including the China Cultural Industry Association, whose aim is to build influence for Beijing abroad.

Mr. Trudeau has defended the meetings by saying he is trying to attract investment to Canada.

The only known investment that followed the fundraiser – just weeks later – was a $1-million donation to the Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal’s law faculty from Mr. Zhang and Niu Gensheng, another wealthy Chinese businessman. Mr. Zhang attended the Trudeau fundraiser but, as a foreign national, did not make a donation.

The pair said the donation was made “to honour the memory and leadership” of the Prime Minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau. The contribution includes $200,000 to the foundation and $50,000 for a statue of the elder Trudeau, who as prime minister opened diplomatic relations with China. Another $750,000 will fund University of Montreal Faculty of Law scholarships, which include grants for Quebec students to visit China.

Charles Burton, a leading expert on China, said the $1-million donation appears to be designed to curry favour with Mr. Trudeau.

Mr. Zhang recently bought Quebec’s Château Montebello hotel, but is also a force for the spread of Chinese soft power as president of the China Cultural Industry Association. The group, which is supervised and regulated by two Chinese state ministries, aims to build international ties for Beijing. Its top-tier members include senior figures in the People’s Liberation Army, and navy and Communist Party bosses. Mr. Zhang is also a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which advises China’s rulers.

Mr. Trudeau, Thursday, told reporters he has no ties to the foundation. “I have not been in any way associated formally, or informally, with Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in many, many years,” he told reporters after arriving in Liberia for the first leg of a trip to Africa.

“I stepped down from any of my family-related responsibilities shortly after having gotten elected, in order to demonstrate that there is a tremendous separation there.”

Justin Trudeau’s brother, Alexandre Trudeau, is a director of the Trudeau Foundation. The foundation’s latest publicly available annual report, 2014-15, lists the Prime Minister as a member but with an asterisk, saying he has “withdrawn from the affairs of the foundation for the duration of his involvement in federal politics.”

Mr. Niu, the donor partner in the $1-million contribution, is the founder of China Mengniu Dairy, heads the China Charity Alliance, which reports to China’s Civil Affairs Ministry.

In 2008, Mengniu was caught up in the massive Chinese milk scandal, in which six infants died and 54,000 were hospitalized after farmers added melamine to milk, presumably to fool government protein tests.

Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley said the party has nothing to do with the foundation. “The Liberal Party of Canada is not privy to any discussions related to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation or the University of Montreal, and the party does not have knowledge of private contributions being made to either of those institutions.”


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin Trudeau a big money draw for Liberals

A visit from the PM can net the Liberals more than $100,000, according to an analysis of Elections Canada data

By Éric Grenier, CBC News Posted: Nov 25, 2016 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Nov 25, 2016 5:23 AM ET

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a photo following a town hall with high school students to mark the one-year anniversary of his government. Trudeau has been criticized recently for headlining Liberal fundraisers.

With all of the controversy surrounding the prime minister's attendance at what the opposition parties call "cash-for-access" fundraising events, one might wonder why the Liberals are willing to risk the potential political cost for a few donations.

The party insists it's following the rules. But in the end, the political calculation might be an easy one — according to an analysis of Elections Canada data, the average event headlined by Justin Trudeau raises slightly more than $100,000 for the Liberal Party.

The prime minister and other members of his cabinet routinely attend fundraising events that come at a price of $1,500 per ticket, near the limit of donations allowed by Elections Canada. We don't know how much of the party's $12.2-million fundraising haul for the first three quarters of the year came from those events, but $1,500 tickets can pile up quickly.

Follow the money

By cross-checking a calendar of Trudeau's fundraising events (provided by the Liberal Party) with Elections Canada's records of political contributions, it's possible to estimate the amount of money these events raised. This analysis includes all contributions given to the Liberal Party in the two weeks before an event was held, if that contribution matches the price of a ticket and was contributed by someone living nearby.

It's possible these estimates include some contributions that coincidentally matched these parameters. But these are likely to be small in number, as donations equal to the price of a ticket for an upcoming event spiked dramatically in the days before that event was held.

Additionally, any tickets purchased more than two weeks in advance of events have not been counted.

Tickets for two of the events analyzed here were easier to identify. For example, $1,525 tickets purchased for an event attended by Trudeau in Calgary were apparently registered as contributions in the amount of $1,432.61 because costs for the event were deducted from the price of the ticket. Parties routinely do this.

Though it wasn't possible to estimate the haul of every fundraising event the prime minister attended, it was possible to estimate the money raised for six events held between January and September.
■March 1, Surrey, B.C. Tickets: $1,000. Total: $141,000.
■April 15, Mississauga, Ont. Tickets: $750 and $1,500. Total: $84,758.24.
■May 16, Westmount, Que. Tickets: $1,500. Total: $81,000.
■May 19, Toronto. Tickets: $1,525. Total: $254,675.
■July 15, Calgary. Tickets: $1,432.61. Total: $71,630.50.
■Sept. 14, Montreal. Tickets: $1,500. Total: $103,500.

In total, these events raised about $650,000, averaging just over $100,000 for each event. If Trudeau raised similar amounts of money at other events he attended in 2016, his fundraisers alone could be responsible for about 10 to 15 per cent of all money the Liberal Party raises.

Privileged or crowded access?

The opposition has accused the Liberals of charging Canadians for privileged access to the highest levels of power. But the contribution data suggests some of these events aren't particularly intimate.

The fundraiser in Surrey, for example, was attended by about 140 people. The potential for catching the prime minister for more than a handshake seems limited at such an event.

Ottawa Pensions Infrastructure 20160515
Finance Minister Bill Morneau and other Liberal cabinet ministers have attended fundraising events this year. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The crowds at appreciation events for members of the Laurier Club are impossible to estimate from Elections Canada data. These donors contribute $1,500 annually ($750 for those under the age of 35), and some of them make a $125 monthly donation (or $62.50 for younger members). These donations can be made at any time of the year, so it's not possible to link them to individual events.

The prime minister wasn't the only high-ranking Liberal who attended fundraising events this year. Transport Minister Marc Garneau, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, among others, all attended fundraisers in 2016.

Tory ministers headlined similar events

In response to opposition questions on the controversy in the House of Commons Thursday, the Liberals reminded the Conservatives of similar events their ministers attended while the Tories were in power.

Jason Kenney, who resigned as an MP earlier this year to run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, as well as Joe Oliver and Chris Alexander, who were both defeated in the 2015 federal election, were singled out by the government.

FedElxn Jason Kenney 20150830
Jason Kenney is one of several former Conservative cabinet ministers the Liberals singled out for attending fundraisers back when the Conservatives were in power. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Oliver was the star attraction of a $500-per-ticket fundraiser in Toronto last year for the Conservative riding association in Don Valley East, back when he was still finance minister. Events attended by Kenney (who handled several cabinet portfolios) were advertised by two riding associations, with tickets ranging from $250 to $500. Alexander, the former minister of citizenship and immigration, headlined a fundraiser in Toronto with ticket prices topping out at $3,000 per guest.

These fundraisers took place during the run-up to the 2015 federal election, when contributions dramatically increased across the board, so it's difficult to determine how much money was raised at these particular events.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the cash for access continues this time , it involves Marijuana lobbying groups )

Trudeau’s lead on legalizing marijuana lobbied during cash-for-access fundraiser

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 5:00AM EST

Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 7:41AM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s point person on legalizing recreational pot was the prize guest at a Liberal Party fundraiser attended by a marijuana lobbying group at a Toronto law office that advises clients in the cannabis business.

The event last spring, which featured Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to the Justice Minister, appears to violate Liberal Party rules on political fundraisers and Mr. Trudeau’s ethics guidelines that direct cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries to avoid an “appearance of preferential access.”

The Liberal Party told The Globe and Mail on Monday night it will refund donations from representatives of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association (CFBA), although it denied any ethical breaches.

“While the lobbying code is clear that such individuals may be able to attend grassroots fundraisers, these contributions are now in the process of being returned to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest,” Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley said in an e-mail.

“The individuals associated with the organization you reference appear to have only registered with the lobbying commissioner on or after the date of the event itself, and therefore the party would not have been aware in advance of their activities.”

Mr. Blair addressed the fundraiser at the law offices of Aird & Berlis LLP on April 28 – two months after Mr. Trudeau named him to work with a task force on new marijuana laws.

One of the law partners is a corporate secretary in a cannabis business, and another assisted a client doing a medical marijuana startup.

The CFBA represents dispensary owners and cannabis farmers who want the federal government to allow storefront pot shops.

CFBA organizers Abi Roach and Jon Liedtke, a co-owner of the Higher Limits Cannabis Lounge in Windsor, Ont., lobbied and were photographed with Mr. Blair, a former Toronto police chief, at the $150-per-person fundraiser.

“I got 10 minutes of his time. I explained to him that the cannabis industry needs to stay independent and he said, ‘Oh Abi, it’s not about money,’ and I just laughed, and I said, ‘You don’t think so, eh?’” said Ms. Roach, who operates Hotbox Café, a cannabis lounge in Toronto. “It was worth it because I got to speak to different people about our point of view about the cannabis industry. There was lot of people from the cannabis industry as well who were vying for his attention, more from the licensed producers’ side, obviously, because they are more interested in lobbying than the independents are.”

The presence of donors hoping to gain the ear of Mr. Blair appears to violate Mr. Trudeau’s Open and Accountable Government ethics rules that state “there should be no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

The fundraiser also appears to breach internal Liberal Party rules – held up by the party as evidence of due diligence – that say “there is a thorough process to ensure that the rules are followed – especially that no department stakeholder, lobbyist, or employees of lobbying firms are specially targeted for fundraising.”

Ms. Roach told The Globe she “gets e-mails all the time” from the Liberals asking her to come to fundraisers, and no one vetted her for the April 28 event.

“They took our money happily without question,” Ms. Roach said. “If it was easier for people to speak to politicians, to explain their points of views without having to pay – I mean, there was no way to sit at this event, I was on my feet for four hours – I would rather to speak to a politician one-on-one in an office than have to pay.”

Ms. Roach’s organization is registered with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying in Ottawa as lobbying the departments of Justice, Finance, Health and Public Safety, and the Public Health Agency of Canada and Employment and Social Development.

Fundraising rules recently highlighted by Christina Topp, interim national director of the Liberal Party, say: “Once we receive a guest list prior to an event, we review it to determine if any individuals are registered lobbyists with active files associated with the relevant department and, if necessary, takes steps so the individual does not attend the event.”

The fundraiser was for Toronto Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who favours decriminalization of marijuana and the idea of pardons for people convicted of pot offences.

Mr. Blair insisted he was not using his position to raise money for Mr. Erskine-Smith’s riding association.

“Honestly, I went there and I spoke on behalf of Nat as a parliamentary colleague. It wasn’t about marijuana,” Mr. Blair told The Globe. “Everyone talks to me about marijuana everywhere I go, but that wasn’t why I was at the fundraiser. Nat is a colleague and a friend.”

Mr. Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York, said to his recollection, most people at the April 28 fundraiser were his former colleagues at the law firm, constituents and local Liberal Party supporters.

He said he did not discuss marijuana at the event, adding that Mr. Blair happened to be the parliamentary secretary who was available.

Mr. Erskine-Smith said at the riding association level it would be very difficult to screen all attendees to determine whether they plan to lobby the headline guest.

He said the topic of the April 28 fundraiser was how Mr. Trudeau brought people of varied backgrounds into the Liberal fold.

Mr. Erskine-Smith said his riding association never advertised the event as an opportunity for lobbyists to talk to Mr. Blair on marijuana.

One partner at Aird & Berlis, Richard Kimel, is corporate secretary for International Cannabis Corp., a licensed producer of recreational marijuana, as well as extracts, byproducts and industrial hemp in Uruguay. Mr. Kimel was not at the fundraiser.

The law firm also represented TheCannaCabana.com website, which promotes itself as a place where people can “gather and communicate without fear of repercussions for their choice of medication and recreation.”

Another law partner, Donald Johnston, advised a medical marijuana startup as it registered, according to Aird & Berlis’ website.

Aird & Berlis referred questions about the fundraiser to the Beaches-East York Liberal riding association, including whether it donated or rented the space for the event. The firm declined to discuss its work on the marijuana file. “Those matters are subject to solicitor and client confidentiality,” managing partner Steven Zakem said in an e-mail.


Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( more $ cash for access )

Businessman paid for access to Trudeau prior to canola deal with China

Thomas Liu attended $1,525-per-plate dinner at home of Toronto businessman Benson Wong

Jeremy J. Nuttall, The Tyee

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood

Jeremy J. Nuttall, The Tyee

A Toronto businessman hoping to sell $1 billion worth of canola oil to China attended a fundraising dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just four months before the Canadian government struck a deal to lift Chinese trade barriers on canola seed exports.

Thomas Liu, CEO of the LeMine Investment Group, attended the $1,525-per-person dinner at the home of Toronto businessman Benson Wong on May 19. About 35 people attended the fundraiser, which was first revealed by The Tyee.

On Sept. 22, the Canadian government announced an agreement to lift Chinese restrictions on canola seed exports that had threatened access to the $2.6-billion market.

New Democrat ethics critic Alexandre Boulerice said Trudeau’s attendance at the event raises serious concerns about the so-called “cash for access” fundraisers with the prime minister, cabinet ministers and senior officials.

Liu has a background in immigration and condo development in the Toronto area. His company has a subsidiary called LeMine Energy, which claims to trade petroleum products and liquefied natural gas.

Photos of Liu with Trudeau taken at the dinner were posted on the company’s WeChat channel, a Chinese version of Twitter. A $1,500 donation shows up in the Liberals’ quarterly contribution report from a Tong Liu, another name used by Thomas Liu.

On Nov. 8, 2014, Liu signed a deal to export $1 billion worth of canola oil during a Canadian trade mission to China with then-prime minister Stephen Harper.

“Ontario-based LeMine Investment Group signed a seven year, $1 billion, canola oil export agreement, along with a canola crude-oil trade promotion agreement with Guizhou Fengguan Group,” reads the release. LeMine proposed to export canola oil, rather than the seed more commonly shipped to China for processing there.

LeMine also announced the agreement on its website, where the notice still remains.

“LeMine has foreseen the market potential of Canada’s canola oil in China and has a courageous move to put itself on board, which has certainly brought LeMine Group to a promising future of international trading,” reads the company’s statement. “This strategic cooperation will make a great contribution to bilateral trade and economies.” In June 2015 the company released a dramatic promotional video about the deal.

The company did not respond to The Tyee to confirm if it is still in the canola business.

The New Democrats’ Boulerice said it’s troubling when a businessman can pay for access to the prime minister while Ottawa is dealing with a major issue, like the canola trade restrictions, that could affect his business.

“If you want to talk to the government about your interests … you should ask for a meeting with the prime minister or the minister concerned,” Boulerice said. “There is all the appearance of conflict of interest there, the problem that we have is we have no record of the discussions.”

Preferential access to a minister could allow a businessperson an edge over competitors, he said.

Liberal communications director Braeden Caley said in an email that more than 35,000 Canadians contributed to the Liberal party in the same quarter as the fundraising dinner “in compliance with strict federal political financing rules.”

“It’s important to note that any individuals wishing to discuss government business at a party event are immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the appropriate office,” he added.

LeMine is mainly known for real estate development in the Toronto area.

The announcement of the canola deal — tied for the largest signed during Harper’s mission — surprised industry observers who had never heard of Liu or his company.

A Reuters’ report then said the company had not secured canola oil supply and that Liu’s statement that Walmart would be a purchaser of the oil in China could not be confirmed.

LeMine posted the Reuters article on its site, but deleted the reference to the lack of confirmation from Walmart. Photos of Conservative Senator Victor Oh with Liu at the deal’s announcement also appear on the company’s website.

In February, China announced tightened restrictions on canola imports from Canada, allegedly over concerns about the potential spread of blackleg disease to Chinese canola plants.

On Sept. 22, during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit, the federal government ended the dispute by signing a deal with Beijing to secure Canadian exports of beef and canola to China until 2020.

This article appeared originally in The Tyee.


Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Posts: 5406
Reputation: 273.8
votes: 8

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is disturbing is that this is becoming the main way the Liberals are raising money.

When a representative from China gives a big gift to the Trudeau foundation, it's doing the same work that a bribe would do. Bribes, gifts, it all blends in ...

Kudos to the Tyee for digging this up. We need to know these things.

I found it interesting, in another context, that Manley, the old Industry Minister from Chretien days, was complaining that the deal was that Enbridge would give political support for a carbon tax so long as they could get their oil to a foreign market without it! Which involves permission to build a pipeline.

Makes you wonder if there weren't a few 'gifts' involved in that.

That would mean, right from the get-go, that the carbon tax is as much a means of extorting support from industry as it is a climate measure.

Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 8351
Reputation: 280.1
votes: 3
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( more cash for access news , this time the Chinese )

Influential Chinese-Canadians paying to attend private fundraisers with Trudeau

Robert Fife AND Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 5:00AM EST

Last updated Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 9:15AM EST

The Liberal Party is employing an under-the-radar strategy that taps into the power of Justin Trudeau to generate tens of thousands of dollars from cash-for-access events at the homes of wealthy Chinese-Canadians that provide intimate face-time with the Prime Minister that can be used as business currency at home and in China.

Attendance figures suggest the party collects a minimum of $50,000 per event from donors – and up to $120,000 – in a system that revolves around rich entrepreneurs in Vancouver and Toronto, home to large Chinese-Canadian business communities with people willing to shell out $1,500 per ticket to meet Mr. Trudeau in a private setting.

Some of the guests and hosts at the intimate fundraisers are well-connected to China’s ruling Communist Party.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Raymond Chan, who was Mr. Trudeau’s British Columbia fundraiser in the 2015 election campaign, helps with fundraising activities on the West Coast, while Toronto business consultant Richard Zhou is a key organizer of these events in Ontario.

Mr. Chan was at the most recent Trudeau fundraiser, which was held on Nov. 7 at the West Vancouver mansion of B.C. developer Miaofei Pan, a multimillionaire from Wenzhou province who immigrated to Canada a decade ago. More than 80 guests got their pictures taken with Mr. Trudeau at the $1,500 per ticket event, including Mr. Chan.

Mr. Pan told The Globe and Mail he lobbied the Prime Minister to make it easier for well-heeled investors from China to come to Canada. He said he told Mr. Trudeau the program put in place by the former Conservative government was “too harsh.”

In exchange for permanent residency, rich immigrants must invest $2-million and are subject to strict audits.

“If they don’t do business over two years here, they cannot stay or they have to leave the country. So I wanted the Prime Minister to know that is not a very merciful policy towards these people because they want to invest or stay,” Mr. Pan said. “It’s all about investment that Canada needs. I have friends, and [they are] wealthy people, who want to stay and invest.”

A Chinese government agency in Mr. Pan’s hometown that builds ties with and keeps tabs on expatriate Chinese, supplied photos of the Trudeau-Pan event to media in China. The Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the Wenzhou People’s Government promotes China’s interests abroad, according to former Canadian diplomat and China expert Charles Burton.

“That is an agency of the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr. Burton told The Globe and Mail. “The fact that the photos appeared in the [Wenzhou Metropolis Daily] in China suggests that the people who participated in that activity must have been tasked by the Chinese state to try and promote the Chinese position with influential people in Canada. In this case, our Prime Minister.”

Mr. Pan is honorary chair of a Chinese-Canadian organization that is an unabashed backer of Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

In 2012, he was part of a campaign by overseas Chinese groups to rally public support for the Chinese government’s position in a dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea that are close to key shipping lanes, bountiful fishing grounds and possible petroleum reserves.

That year, Mr. Pan was quoted in the Macau Daily newspaper saying his organization, the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, had “declared its stand in newspapers” and that “overseas Chinese were responsible for defending China’s territorial integrity.”

In 2015, the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations held a symposium at which speakers backed Beijing’s assertion of title to islands, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, and issued a statement saying it “strongly supports the Chinese government’s defence of sovereignty over the South China Sea.”

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Liberal Party kept the Nov. 7 fundraiser confidential. Neither the PMO nor the party website noted the event. At the time, Mr. Trudeau was in Vancouver to announce a new marine strategy.

“The party has … been clear that not every event is on the party’s national website, while it’s important to note that the Liberal Party of Canada is still the only major federal political party that maintains an active online events listing in any form at all,” party spokesman Braeden Caley said in an e-mail. “All fundraising by the Liberal Party of Canada fully complies with all Elections Canada rules and regulations for political fundraising.”

The Liberal Party would not provide The Globe and Mail with a list of attendees. Mr. Pan said all the guests were his friends, and all are Canadian citizens.

In Toronto, Mr. Zhou is the chief Liberal ambassador to deep-pocketed Chinese-Canadian business executives. His web biography says he is also a consultant to the state-supervised Beijing International Chamber of Commerce. He did not respond to phone calls or e-mails, but Mr. Caley confirmed that Mr. Zhou is a “volunteer fundraising co-chair in Ontario.”

Mr. Zhou helped arrange a May 19 fundraiser at the home of Chinese Business Chamber of Commerce chair Benson Wong at which Mr. Trudeau was the star attraction, an event attended by Chinese billionaire and Communist Party official Zhang Bin. A few weeks later, Mr. Zhang and his business partner donated $200,000 to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and $50,000 to erect a statue of Mr. Trudeau’s father.

Insurance mogul Hong Wei Winnie Liao has hosted several Trudeau fundraisers in Toronto. The most recent was on April 14, but no details are available from either the Liberal Party or Ms. Liao.

Reached by telephone, Ms. Liao said: “I will not accept any interview.”

“It may not be convenient for me to comment,” she added before hanging up. She did not respond to text messages asking about the fundraisers at her home.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly told the House of Commons the Liberal Party respects the “values that Canadians expect in terms of openness, accountability and transparency.”

New rules Mr. Trudeau set out when he won political power last year appeared intended to end cash-for-cash fundraisers. Those rules state “there should be no preferential access to government, appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

With reports from Xiao Xu, Kathy Tomlinson and Nathan VanderKlippe

Post new topic   Reply to topic Page 2 of 4

Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next  

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

Liberal Ministers holding cash for access fundraisers ?

phpBBCopyright 2001, 2005 phpBB