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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.”

The question, surely, is does the Liberal Party respect the values of the Chinese? Which, in this context, would be discretion, respect for privacy and cooperation in promoting mutual interests.

How do the Liberals feel about those values? That would be relevant journalism!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( these events keep looking worse and worse for trudeau , its clear they were up to no good )

Trudeau discussed Chinese investments at fundraiser, host says

Robert Fife AND Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 9:02PM EST

A wealthy Vancouver businessman used a cash-for-access fundraiser at his home to lobby Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly to allow Chinese investment in seniors’ care, relax immigration restrictions on financiers and make it easier for foreign real estate developers to plow money into Canada.

The Nov. 7 fundraiser hosted by Miaofei Pan, where talk of investment by Chinese companies in seniors’ care took place, came as the Trudeau government is reviewing a bid by China’s Anbang Insurance Group to buy one of B.C.’s biggest retirement-home chains.

Anbang is a massive Chinese insurance firm with a murky ownership structure that is seeking a majority stake in Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, believed to be worth more than $1-billion. It would give the company, which has been on a global buying spree, a significant role in the delivery of taxpayer-funded health care in British Columbia.

The Liberal Party has repeatedly told The Globe and Mail “individuals wishing to discuss government business at party events are immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the appropriate office.”

Mr. Pan told The Globe in an interview that Mr. Trudeau was “approachable and friendly” when he raised the issues, including Chinese companies’ keen interest to invest in Canadian health care for seniors.

At the $1,500 fundraiser, more than 80 guests dined and had their photographs taken with Mr. Trudeau. The event is one of several Liberal Party fundraising events aimed at wealthy Chinese-Canadians. Attendance figures suggest the party collects $50,000 to $120,000 per event.

“First of all, we said that in Canada, the government investment for elderly care is not enough,” Mr. Pan said. “We need to receive the investments from Chinese entrepreneurs to provide for the elderly. The Prime Minister was very happy when he heard that.”

Mr. Pan did not mention a specific deal or company, but his entreaties came as Ottawa is reviewing Anbang’s bid to make precisely the kind of investment he said he discussed with the Prime Minister.

Retirement Concepts owns and operates about 24 retirement communities, mostly in B.C., except for several properties in Calgary and Montreal. It owns unused or partly developed land that would allow major expansions of facilities.

The company is an important part of B.C.’s health-care delivery system. Retirement Concepts is the highest-billing provider of assisted living and residential care services in the province. The B.C. government paid the company $86.5-million in the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than any other of the 130 similar providers.

An investigation by The New York Times earlier this year revealed that 92 per cent of Anbang is currently held by firms either fully or partly owned by relatives of Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui or his wife, Zhuo Ran, the granddaughter of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, or Chen Xiaolu, the son of a famous People’s Liberation Army leader.

New Democratic Party MP Nathan Cullen said it was completely inappropriate for Mr. Trudeau to discuss the kind of investment issues that Mr. Pan said he raised with him at the Liberal Party fundraiser. Mr. Trudeau’s Open and Accountable Government rules state that “there should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

“That’s a prime minister selling himself out very cheap,” Mr. Cullen said. “It is directly against the explicit orders that the Prime Minister himself wrote. It is selling off access to the Prime Minister of Canada to Chinese investors.”

In a meeting with the Toronto Star’s editorial board on Friday, Mr. Trudeau argued that critics of the Liberal Party’s special-access fundraisers are jaded and off base.

“The fact is $1,500 a year is … you have to be pretty cynical to imagine that a government could be bought off for that amount of money,” Mr. Trudeau said. He told The Star he will look at Ontario Liberal government reforms that forbid the premier, cabinet ministers and MPPs from attending fundraising events.

Mr. Pan said he also urged the Prime Minister to make it easier for Chinese real estate developers to buy land in Canada. He mentioned Sunshine 100 China Holdings Ltd. and Evergrande Group, major property developers in China.

“They both have the willingness to invest here,” Mr. Pan said. “Some of their deputies have immigrated to Canada. But for a long time, they have not found good projects to invest in. I was thinking [Canada needs policies] that can attract investments and help expand investments.”

Over a banquet of fish cakes and Wenzhou soup, Mr. Pan said, he also complained to Mr. Trudeau about how Ottawa treats immigrant investors from China.

“I told the Prime Minister that these people are not thieves, neither are they lawbreakers. If they cannot stay long enough [to meet the requirements], then just don’t give them a Canada permanent-resident card,” he said. “But don’t treat them as bad guys and expel them. I think it’s not very proper to do so.”

Canadian rules regarding permanent residency impose restrictions on arrivals from countries such as China. To retain permanent-resident status, a person must have been physically present in Canada for two of the previous five years. Those who fail this test can lose their permanent residency.

“Once they start to spend time in Canada … it’s easier to enforce the obligation to file a Canadian income-tax return,” immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said. “But if it’s less days in Canada, it’s more difficult for [the] CRA to enforce its residency provision.”

The problem for wealthy permanent residents is that Canadian tax returns require them to declare their global income and global property holdings and be taxed on them in Canada. Reducing the time required for permanent residents to be in Canada would reduce the likelihood of that happening.

In response to a Globe story on Friday about the Nov. 7 fundraiser, Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen told the House of Commons that Mr. Pan’s “stunning admissions” make it abundantly clear government business is being discussed at Liberal cash-for-access events.

“These insiders paid $1,500 each to tell the Prime Minister precisely what it was that they needed to make more money, and you know, the Prime Minister listened to their wish list,” Ms. Bergen said. “It seems the Prime Minister is being bought.”

Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, the Government House Leader’s parliamentary secretary, read from a statement saying Canada has “the strictest rules around fundraising on any level and the government respects those rules.”

Since The Globe first reported on the cash-for-access events on Oct. 19, Mr. Trudeau has avoided referring to his own rules, but said the party is following election financing rules. A year ago, Mr. Trudeau said an “obligation to act is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.... ‘I was just following the rules,’ isn’t good enough.”


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opposition parties urge federal watchdogs to probe Liberal fundraisers

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Dec. 06, 2016 5:00AM EST

Both of Canada’s federal ethics and lobbying watchdogs are being formally asked by opposition parties to probe a string of Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraisers featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior Liberals to determine if government business was discussed and laws were broken.

The Conservative and New Democratic Parties sent separate letters to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson and Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd on Monday for possible violations of federal rules.

Ms. Shepherd has already said she is investigating a $500 fundraiser featuring Finance Minister Bill Morneau in Toronto last month that Barry Sherman, chair of generic drug maker Apotex, helped organize.

Ms. Dawson has called the Liberals’ cash-for-access events “not very savoury,” but maintains she does not have the power under the Conflict of Interest Code to stop them. She has asked Mr. Trudeau to give her those powers, but the Liberal government has refused.

The opposition parties say recent revelations in The Globe about what is being discussed at these Liberal fundraisers need further investigation.

“These cash-for-access events appear to provide several examples of violations of the Conflict of Interest Act, the Lobbying Act and the Lobbyist Code of Conduct,” interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote to the two commissioners. “These events are raising sums of money for the Liberal Party of Canada, anywhere in the range of $50,000 to $120,000.”

The NDP called for a probe into a $1,500 fundraiser on Nov. 7 at the home of Vancouver businessman Miaofei Pan, at which more than 80 guests mingled with Mr. Trudeau.

In an interview with The Globe last week, Mr. Pan said he told the Prime Minister Ottawa should allow Chinese investment in seniors’ care, relax immigration restrictions on financiers and make it easier for foreign real estate developers to invest in Canada. The Nov. 7 event came as the Trudeau government is reviewing a bid by China’s Anbang Insurance Group to buy one of B.C.’s biggest retirement-home chains.

Mr. Pan, who is not a lobbyist and does not represent Anbang, described Mr. Trudeau as “approachable and friendly” and said the “Prime Minister was very happy when he heard” Chinese firms wanted to invest in seniors’ care.

“Mr. Pan, a multimillionaire, does not appear in the Canadian lobbyist registry, but works for an organization, called Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, which promotes the interest of several companies with ties to China,” NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice wrote.

Mr. Boulerice cited the Lobbying Act, which requires people lobbying government ministers to register, and the Conflict of Interest Act, which states politicians should not give preferential treatment to or solicit funds from anyone if a conflict is possible.

“Such potential violations are serious and that is why I am asking you to examine if there are any grounds to initiate an investigation under section 5 (1) of the Lobbying Act and sections 7 and 6 of the Conflict of Interest Act,” he wrote. “Any appearance of conflict of interest must be treated with the utmost seriousness, which is why additional information is required to shed light on this potentially troubling situation involving the Prime Minister of Canada.”

In the Commons, Ms. Ambrose accused Mr. Trudeau of breaking Canada’s fundraising rules.

“The Prime Minister is breaking them every time he holds one of these events when he is talking about government business. He is actually selling access to himself, the most powerful person in government, discussing government business to fill Liberal Party coffers. It is wrong, it is unethical and it is actually illegal,” she said.

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger dared Ms. Ambrose to repeat her allegations outside the Commons chamber, where she could be subject to legal action. “I am pretty sure that the member opposite is not implying that the Prime Minister would be breaking the law, and if the member is saying it, there is a better place, which would be outside this chamber, to make such an accusation.”

The Liberal Party has written in fundraising guidelines that “fundraising events are partisan functions where we do not discuss government business” and that “any individual who wishes to initiate a policy discussion is immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the relevant office.”

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked in the Commons if the Liberals want to rescind their denial that government business is discussed at their fundraisers. “We have a government which makes rules and which happily breaks them afterwards, which claims to set new standards and defends itself by saying that it has not done anything technically wrong, which assures Parliament that, during these exclusive dinners, government business is not discussed.

Ms. Ambrose’s four-page letter to the two watchdogs referred to reports in The Globe about Liberal Party fundraisers that use Mr. Trudeau and senior cabinet ministers as a draw.

She noted that Toronto insurance mogul Shenglin Xian attended a $1,500 Trudeau fundraiser on May 19th at the home of Chinese Chamber of Commerce chair Benson Wong while he was awaiting approval of a new bank in Canada.

Ms. Ambrose urged the two commissioners to ensure that “there was no undue influence exerted” in the final approval of Wealth One bank, where Mr. Xian is a principal investor and vice-chair of the board.

Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin also attended the May 19 fundraiser but, as a foreign national, did not make a donation. A few weeks later, he and a business partner donated $200,000 to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and $50,000 for a statue of Mr. Trudeau’s father.

“Given that Prime Minister Trudeau is a former member of the Trudeau Foundation, that his brother Alexandre Trudeau is a current member of the board of directors of the foundation, that the Minister of Industry appoints two directors of the Trudeau Foundation, and that the Foundation has two representatives of the Trudeau family, any efforts by Mr. Trudeau to use his position as Prime Minister to encourage donations may be a violation of the definition of a conflict of interest,” Ms. Ambrose wrote.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trudeau’s invite to meet Chinese premier inspired fundraiser, says businessman

Jeremy J. Nuttall, The Tyee

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

The man who hosted a $1,500-per-person fundraiser for Justin Trudeau in Vancouver says he had been invited by the prime minister to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang when he visited Canada in September.

Chinese-Canadian businessman Miaofei Pan said he decided to hold the Nov. 7 Liberal fundraiser after Trudeau invited him to a welcoming dinner for Li, according to a daily newspaper in Wenzhou, China. Pan is originally from Wenzhou.

Liberal communication director Braeden Caley says Pan’s account of the fundraiser, as reported in the newspapers, is “categorically false.”

The event “was organized by the Liberal Party of Canada and its fundraising volunteers, and its location was not confirmed until late October,” Caley said in an emailed statement. He did not respond to a request to talk further.

Opposition MPs have blasted so-called “cash for access” fundraisers that provide opportunities to meet the prime minister, cabinet ministers and senior government officials in return for political contributions.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent said the Pan case suggests donors are being rewarded with access to government events, like the welcoming dinner for Li.

He said the dispute between Pan and the Liberal party over who was responsible for organizing the fundraiser has created a “he said, they said” moment.

“Canadians will just have to look at the accumulated evidence of cash-for-access with the health, justice and finance ministers,” Kent said, referencing other fundraisers the opposition has attacked.

“Must say I lean to believing the event host,” he added.

Pan spoke about how he managed to invite the prime minister to a dinner at his home in an interview with the state-run newspaper.

“Not long ago, he [Trudeau] invited me to attend the welcome dinner when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Canada,” Pan told the paper. “I agreed and immediately asked him to have dinner at my Vancouver home and he happily agreed.”

Further details on how and when the exchange occurred weren’t revealed in the newspaper article. The Tyee could not contact Pan Monday. The Oct. 29 article was headlined, “The public diplomacy of Wenzhou people abroad; Everyone is a Chinese spokesman.”

The Vancouver dinner was attended by about 80 people, according to the Wenzhou newspaper Metropolitan.

Pan is the former president of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, which boasts more than 200 Chinese member organizations across Canada. In the Wenzhou newspaper article he is identified as the president of the Canada-Wenzhou Friendship Society.

According to Chinese media reports, Pan — who has been in Canada since 2006 — still has business interests in China. He has been involved in real estate development in Canada.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Pan said Trudeau had discussed government business at the fundraiser at his home.

Kent said the timing of the two events suggests a link between the fundraising dinner and the invitation to meet the Chinese premier. That raises questions about whether the Liberals are trading access to government diplomatic events to help fundraising, he said.

“This gentleman has laid out quite clearly the Liberals’ cash-for-access play,” Kent said. “Despite the oft-repeated speaking note assurances that no laws were broken — or the prime minister’s own ethical guidelines — those who paid for access have clearly been able to raise their issues.”

Kent said Trudeau should be reminded that politicians need “to be beyond any suspicion of improper behaviour.”

Charles Burton, a China expert at Brock University, said the situation raises questions about access to the prime minister and those he deals with as part of his duties.

Burton said access to a senior Chinese government official would be a highly sought-after opportunity, one that could easily be used to promote business ventures.

“I think that definitely would be what’s going on,” Burton said. “It certainly seems to be a double game of attempting to establish some opportunity to engage with senior leaders both in Canada and China.”

On Monday, both the New Democrats and Conservatives urged the federal ethics and lobbying watchdogs to conduct an investigation of the Liberals’ fundraisers.

This article appeared originally in The Tyee.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Private Trudeau fundraiser marketed as chance to lobby 'our government'

Robert Fife AND Steven Chase

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2016 5:00AM EST

The Liberal Party marketed a recent $1,500 per ticket fundraiser with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an opportunity for donors to “form relationships and open dialogues with our government” and to network with other wealthy business executives.

It is the federal party’s first written acknowledgment that Liberal cash-for-access fundraisers are more than just partisan functions but a place to network and discuss business in the Prime Minister’s presence.

The Sept. 14 event was at the Montreal home of former Liberal senator Leo Kolber, who was a chief Liberal fundraiser for Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien. Montreal billionaire Stephen Bronfman, who now heads fundraising for the Liberal Party, was the co-host, along with high-tech entrepreneur Ari Himmel.

Mr. Himmel sent e-mails to potential donors in early September, talking up the importance of having quality time with Mr. Trudeau at the exclusive cocktail reception in Montreal’s Westmount suburb.

“Your participation and contribution is deeply appreciated,” he wrote on Sept. 6. “Everyone knows how important it is for our generation to have a strong showing so that our issues are heard and that we begin to form relationships and open dialogues with our government.”

He added that “it’s going to be a great night as well as a wonderful networking opportunity for everyone.”

In an e-mail exchange, Mr. Himmel told one potential donor, entrepreneur Sylvie Leduc, the Trudeau event was a perfect opportunity for her to seek investors for her struggling IT business venture.

Ms. Leduc, a Liberal Party volunteer, had a proposal before the federal government at the time, and politely declined to attend, largely due to the ticket price.

“As a bootstrapping IT start-up trying to make inroads with the Trudeau government to structure PPP [private public partnerships] to implement a business intelligence solution to optimize the administrative and financial management of defined benefits, I will unfortunately have to decline as the requested amount is a tad too steep for the time being,” she wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Himmel.

He replied: “Since you are on the look-out for investors/partners I would suggest considering this event as there will be a lot of networking going on. Also keep in mind you get half your donation back when you file your taxes.”

Ms. Leduc told The Globe and Mail federal bureaucrats rejected her proposal, and she now wonders if she should have paid the $1,500 entry fee to get some time with Mr. Trudeau or some of the rich business people at the reception.

“Now in retrospect maybe I should have taken the easy route and just gone to the cocktail [reception] and mingle and be nice and pretty and I wouldn’t be sitting here where I am now three or four months later,” she said. “From a moral perspective, to be honest with you, I am not sure.”

The Globe contacted Mr. Himmel for comment, and he promised to return the telephone call but failed to do so.

In his first e-mail to potential donors in mid-August, Mr. Himmel said those who wrote a cheque for $1,500 for the Sept. 14 fundraiser would become members of the exclusive Laurier Club. “Your donation of $1,500 per person to the Liberal Party of Canada will ensure that we are able to stay at the forefront of modern campaigning.”

Laurier Club membership would entitle donors to “roundtable discussions with leading members of the Liberal team, a summer garden party in Ottawa and a winter holiday cocktail.” Canadians aged 35 or younger had to pay only $750 to attend the Trudeau reception and sign up as Laurier Club members. Donors of all ages can pay for membership in monthly instalments.

“From a social-justice perspective and from a party that wants to help the middle class and the ones wanting to get there, you know, I don’t think a lot of people can afford $1,500,” Ms. Leduc said.

Since The Globe first reported on the Liberal cash-for-access fundraisers on Oct. 19, the Liberal Party has maintained that the events are strictly partisan affairs and government business is not discussed.

Party-fundraising guidelines for cabinet ministers state that “any individual who wishes to initiate a policy discussion is immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the relevant office” and “ fundraising events are partisan functions where we do not discuss government business.”

In the Commons, the opposition parties continued to hound the government to stop fundraisers at which Mr. Trudeau and senior cabinet ministers are the star attractions.

“Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister’s cash-for-access events are not open and transparent. They are hidden and they are secretive,” Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said. “Guests have plainly said at several fundraisers the Prime Minister openly discussed government business they were seeking his support for.”

She asked if Mr. Trudeau had ever discussed government business “with someone who paid the Liberal Party to meet with him to seek his support on a topic that benefits them directly.”

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger did not answer the question, instead repeating what the government has been saying for weeks.

“When it comes to the rules around fundraising, they are the most open and transparent and they are the most strict across the country,” she replied.

NDP Leader Tom Muclair raised the issue of B.C. multimillionaire Miaofei Pan, host of a $1,500-per-ticket event on Nov. 7 for more than 80 people at his West Vancouver home at which Mr. Trudeau was the prize guest.

Mr. Pan told The Globe in an interview last week that he spoke to Mr. Trudeau about Chinese investment in seniors’ care and land development as well as making it easier for rich immigrants to come to Canada.

“Now we learn that this same individual was personally invited by the Prime Minister to meet the Chinese Premier, and as a result he accepted to hold a Liberal fundraiser,” Mr. Mulcair told the House.

Mr. Mulcair was referring to a story in a newspaper in Wenzhou, China, that quoted Mr. Pan as saying Mr. Trudeau invited him to a dinner in Ottawa in honour of Premier Li Keqiang in September, and that he invited the Prime Minister to his house.

“He invited me to attend the welcome dinner for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, I immediately invited him [Trudeau] back to my home in Vancouver when he is available, and he readily said yes,” Mr. Pan is quoted as saying in the Wenzhou News.

The Liberal Party denied there was any quid pro quo, saying the location of the Nov. 7 fundraiser was not decided upon until late October.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PM Trudeau's fundraising 'smells fishy': Ambrose

Rona Ambrose on CTV's Question Period
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose spoke to Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, for an interview to cap off 2016.

Laura Payton, Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer

Published Saturday, December 10, 2016 7:15AM EST

OTTAWA -- Liberal fundraising events advertising access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet are unethical and raise questions, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says.

"It smells fishy and these guys know it," Ambrose said in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period.

"It is against the law for the prime minister and ministers to meet with people and take money from people who are seeking something from the government."

Media reports have revealed a series of events featuring appearances by Trudeau and high-profile MPs including Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, that raise money for the Liberal Party by charging up to $1,500 for tickets.

One Toronto fundraiser reportedly connected Chinese billionaires with Trudeau, after which one of the guests and another man donated $1 million to the Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal. Of that, $50,000 is intended to build a statue of Trudeau's father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Another man who attended the event was awaiting approval for his bank to operate in Canada.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson has called the fundraisers "unsavoury," but said the law doesn't allow her to act on these fundraisers. She has called on Parliament to give her office a broader scope. Ambrose says she's written to Dawson and to Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd because new information has surfaced since they were last asked to probe the events.1.3174401

"This goes to the heart of the integrity of the Prime Minister's Office," Ambrose said.

"I think he's already tainted the office of the prime minister... I think they've done damage already."

The Liberals say the fundraisers aren't cash-for-access events because they'll speak with any Canadian and access isn't limited to those who can afford to donate to the party. Morneau, in particular, has referred to his budget consultations across the country.

Ambrose disagrees.

"We know that's not true because the people that are lobbying have been very forthright with facts," she said, pointing to statements in the media by some of the donors that they have business they wanted to discuss with the government.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have hewn to a similar response each time they're questioned about the fundraisers.

"At the federal level we have among the strongest principles and rules around fundraising in the country," Trudeau said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

"Those rules are always followed. This is important because Canadians need to have confidence in the transparency, accountability, and secureness of our political financing system. Canadians can and must be reassured."


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Majority of Canadians surveyed object to Liberals’ cash-for-access fundraisers

Robert Fife and Steven Chase

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 5:00AM EST

A new poll shows a significant majority of Canadians disapprove of the Liberal Party’s controversial cash-for-access fundraisers as the governing party is gearing up to collect $1-million in more-conventional contributions from donors in December alone.

A Nanos public-opinion survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail from Nov. 26 to 30, shows that 62 per cent of Canadians disapprove of the Liberal Party’s practice of charging people $1,500 a ticket to meet in private with Mr. Trudeau and senior cabinet ministers who oversee major spending or policy-making decisions.

Only 33 per cent of Canadians surveyed approve of these pay-to-play fundraisers. The Nanos survey of 1,000 Canadians is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“Average Canadians would think that this would not jibe with the image that the Liberals want to project as a party of the middle class, a party that is principled,” Nik Nanos said in an interview. “It just makes people feel very uncomfortable when they see these types of donations in terms of the optics, regardless of whether they influence the Prime Minister or not.”

Mr. Trudeau has been facing a daily barrage of questions in the House of Commons over a series of cash-for-access fundraisers that appear to mix government business with partisan efforts to fill party coffers. He has so far refused to put an end to the practice, even as some Liberal MPs are privately saying the controversy is harming the Liberal brand and Mr. Trudeau’s reputation for integrity.

“This is really hurting us and it’s not necessary,” said one senior Liberal MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being censured. Another MP, who also requested anonymity, said: “It’s not worth the price and conflicts with our pledge of being more ethical than the Harper Conservatives.”

The Prime Minister has said that only cynics would think that his ministers could be bought for the price of a $1,500 ticket. The Nanos survey suggests Canadians are almost evenly divided on that point.

The Nanos poll showed 48 per cent of Canadians believe a donor paying $1,500 could influence Mr. Trudeau’s decision-making while 46 per cent do not think the donation is enough to sway the Prime Minister.

“There is a dose of reality in the poll in terms of realistically how much influence anyone can have on the Prime Minister, but I think what the poll shows is that Canadians think these types of donations are unsavoury,” Mr. Nanos said.

The Liberals’ aggressive fundraising appears to be paying off since they formed government a year ago. Between July and September of this year, the Liberals edged out the Conservatives in fundraising, taking in $3.2-million compared with $3.1-million for the Tories – the first time that this has happened in more than a decade. The Conservatives were in a majority-government position during most of that time.

In December alone, the Liberal Party announced an “ambitious goal” to raise $1-million that it says will come from ordinary donations – from as low as $5 to as much as $200 – and not from high-priced fundraisers featuring top cabinet ministers. The deadline to hit this amount is Dec. 15.

“That goal is specifically for grassroots online donations, which has been a leading area of growth in support for the party,” Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley said in an e-mail. “More than 2,509 grassroots Canadians have contributed to the Liberal Party of Canada online in the last week alone.”

“The Liberal Party of Canada and our volunteers have already hosted over 100 events this fall,” Mr. Caley said. “Among those events, between October 15 and [Dec. 10], our records show that there have been 18 fundraising events in communities across Canada where the special guest was a Liberal MP who also serves as a minister.”

The Liberals will not say how much money is being raised from cash-for-access receptions. Attendance figures suggest the party brings in between $50,000 to $120,000 per event when either Mr. Trudeau or Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the star attraction at $1,500-per-ticket receptions.

Mr. Caley didn’t say how many pay-to-play fundraisers Mr. Trudeau attended but noted he participated in three Laurier Club “appreciation events” in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa for people who donate $1,500 to the party. This allows Laurier Club members to have special cocktail receptions with Mr. Trudeau and other ministers.

As the fundraisers have begun to dominate the House Question Period, it has become more difficult to glean details of fundraisers involving Mr. Trudeau or his ministers. Mr. Trudeau’s events are not posted on the party website and the Prime Minister’s Office makes no mention of them in its daily report on his official activities.

Mr. Trudeau has repeatedly told the Commons that his government is committed to the “principles of openness, transparency and accountability [that] are necessary for public trust in our institutions” in regard to Liberal fundraising activities.

The Conservative and NDP parties have written formal complaints to Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson and Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd, demanding investigations into Liberal fundraising practices. They allege some of the events violate lobbying laws and the Conflict of Interest Code.

The fundraisers appear to breach Mr. Trudeau’s own government guidelines that say “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.”

The opposition leaders have brought up example after example of pay-to-play events where donors raised government issues with Mr. Trudeau or other cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries. The events appear to violate the Liberal Party’s pledge that “fundraising events are partisan functions, where we do not discuss government business.”


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is probably why Justin's poll numbers are dropping. It's doing the Liberals a lot of damage, in my estimation.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
This is probably why Justin's poll numbers are dropping. It's doing the Liberals a lot of damage, in my estimation.

if you look at the new poll it shows Ontario as being nearly tied , do think these fundraisers are part of the reason ,

our liberal premier Kathleen Wynne was also accused of the same thing and the liberal brand is starting to be affected by all these accusations of questionable liberal fundraising , its something people are starting to associate the liberals with

and historically there brand had a lot of issues with corruption and scandals going back to the sponsorship scandal and chretien years

and trudeau's response that they were ok and within the rules doesn't pass the smell test to many , its like he doesn't care and thinks he can do whatever he wants

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( this trudeau foundation is starting to look a lot like the Clinton foundation , very questionable why people would suddenly start donating once trudeau was liberal leader and then won election )

Money began to rain on Trudeau Foundation once Justin took over Liberals, analysis shows

By Claire Brownell & Zane Schwartz December 12, 2016 12:27 PM

Last Monday, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner and to the lobbying commissioner, asking them to investigate Liberal fundraising practices — and in particular, whether people might be using donations to the charitable Trudeau Foundation to gain influence with the government.

“Given that Prime Minister Trudeau is a former member of the Trudeau Foundation,” she wrote, “that his brother Alexandre Trudeau is a current member of the board of directors of the foundation, that the Minister of Industry appoints two directors of the Trudeau Foundation, and that the Foundation has two representatives of the Trudeau family, any efforts by Mr. Trudeau to use his position as Prime Minister to encourage donations may be a violation of the definition of a conflict of interest.”

A National Post analysis of the Trudeau Foundation’s public disclosures has found that gifts to the foundation have increased significantly since Justin Trudeau’s April 2013 election as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The amount of money contributed to the foundation by foreign donors has grown each year since Trudeau claimed the party’s leadership. Moreover, a significant proportion of the charity’s donors, directors and members have ties to companies and organizations that are actively lobbying the federal government.

Whether or not the foundation violates conflict-of-interest laws, its operations represent another challenge to the high ethical standard Trudeau has established for his government. The Open and Accountable Government guide, codified after Trudeau became prime minister in October 2015, specifies that when fundraising or dealing with lobbyists, “Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must avoid conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest and situations that have the potential to involve conflicts of interest.”

Critics say the Trudeau family’s ongoing attachment to the Trudeau Foundation could violate those rules, since making a donation might help curry favour with the prime minister’s family. The National Post’s analysis confirms about 40 per cent of 108 donors, directors and members of the foundation since 2014 — or one in six, if academic institutions are excluded — have affiliations with organizations that currently lobby the government, which could indeed create the perception of a conflict.


The Trudeau Foundation hosts conferences on what it considers important public policy issues and grants scholarships in memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the late former prime minister and Justin Trudeau’s father. Founded in 2001, it attracted controversy in its early years because it is largely funded by taxpayers’ money.

Industry Canada — not usually a source of funding for academic research in the social sciences and humanities — granted the foundation a $125 million endowment in 2002. The foundation’s net assets grew 1.2 per cent in fiscal year 2015, closing out the year at $150 million.

Critics raised concerns about public money being used to fund academic research into ideas championed by the late prime minister, especially when the Social Science and Humanities Research Council already gives out similar grants.

“People that might defend the Trudeau Foundation, would they defend a Harper foundation funding with tax money things that Stephen Harper liked? I don’t think so,” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “And they’d be equally right.”

After the initial controversy, the foundation’s operations continued relatively peacefully over the next decade. But as Justin Trudeau’s political career advanced, his ties to the foundation became more problematic. He formally withdrew from involvement in the foundation’s affairs in December 2014, and Liberal Party of Canada spokesman Braeden Caley told the Post in an email that the party “has no relationship to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Mr. Trudeau has no involvement with it.”

However, Justin Trudeau’s brother Alexandre and the Trudeaus’ close family friend Roy Heenan have been on the board since the foundation’s inception. The organization’s bylaws grant Justin Trudeau, Alexandre Trudeau and Heenan the right to have a say in the appointment of two directors, even though the prime minister no longer exercises that right. Correspondence between the foundation and prospective event sponsors shows the charity listed Justin Trudeau as a member in marketing materials as recently as September 2014, by which time he had been a sitting member of parliament for six years and leader of the Liberal Party for a year and a half.

Since Trudeau became Liberal leader in April 2013, gifts to the foundation have increased significantly. Donations went from $172,211 in the 2014 fiscal year to $731,753 in 2016 — a four-fold increase. From 2008 to 2013, the foundation had no foreign donations, but it has brought in a growing amount of foreign money in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Foreign donations jumped from $53,000 in the 2014 fiscal year to $535,000 in 2016 — a ten-fold increase.

The majority of donors to the Trudeau Foundation also have ties to the foundation itself, with many directors, mentors and scholarship recipients making contributions. Anonymous donations made up less than three per cent of all gifts in 2015, according to information supplied by the foundation.

Many of the foundation’s donors, directors and members also have ties to corporate Canada and advocacy groups, organizations with an interest in influencing federal policy.

Patrick Pichette, a Canadian who until 2015 was senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Google, and who sits on Bombardier’s board of directors, is also a director of the Trudeau Foundation. Correspondence between Pichette and the Trudeau Foundation in 2014, released as part of an access-to-information request, shows he helped secure US$25,000 from Google for sponsorship of a Trudeau Foundation conference.

Google has lobbied federal officials 22 times since Justin Trudeau became prime minister. The company was under investigation by the Competition Bureau for alleged anti-competitive activities at the time Google made the donation in December 2014. The Competition Bureau concluded its investigation without charges last spring.

Lobbyists are required to file a report with the lobbying commissioner every time they interact with a federal official, regardless of whether the communication is a sit-down meeting or a brief phone call. Critics say enforcement is lax and it’s likely the record doesn’t fully capture all interactions between companies and the federal government. Nonetheless, those reports show a close relationship. Google only lobbied the Harper government seven times in 2015. Of the 22 times Google lobbied federal officials in 2016 two of those were with Justin Trudeau personally. In September, Google lobbied Justin Trudeau, his chief of staff Katie Telford and his principal secretary Gerald Butts.

Asked for comment on the perception of conflict of interest raised by the donation, Google spokesman Aaron Brindle responded with a brief emailed statement that did not address the issue. Brindle said the company supports many organizations dedicated to facilitating dialogue on public policy. “We will continue to support this important work,” he said.

Former NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie is another Trudeau Foundation director who donated in 2016. She is currently acting vice-president of oceans at World Wildlife Fund Canada, which has lobbied the federal government 29 times since Trudeau became Prime Minister.

In an emailed statement, WWF-Canada said Leslie’s donation to the foundation was not a large one — $10 per month. The conservation organization said its lobbying of the Trudeau government has been similar to its activity under previous administrations.

Some of Canada’s largest corporations — including Air Canada, BMO, Suncor and Resolute Forest Products — have sponsored Trudeau Foundation conferences since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader. All those companies, which along with Google and Lafarge Canada account for half of all foundation event partners since 2014, are currently registered to lobby the federal government.

Asked for comment, Suncor, Resolute and Air Canada noted they all sponsored the 2014 conference before Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, with Air Canada sponsoring the 2015 event as well. The theme of the 2014 conference was climate change, an area relevant to their industries. In an email, Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman said the company has not had any face-to-face meetings with anyone from the prime minister’s office. Disclosures filed with the lobbying commissioner show Resolute lobbied Jim Carr, minister of national resources, on March 22.

In addition to lobbyists, foreign donors have also been giving more to the foundation in recent years. Chinese national Bin Zhang, who made a $200,000 gift to the charity following a cash-for-access Liberal fundraiser with prime minister Justin Trudeau, has been the focus of heated debate in the House of Commons. The gift, which was first reported by the Globe and Mail, counted as a domestic donation, since it was made by a company registered in Canada.

Under Elections Canada rules, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents can make federal political donations, but foreigners with an interest in Canadian public policy are free to donate to the Trudeau Foundation. Foreign donations to the foundation have increased significantly in recent years.

The foundation attracted no foreign donations from 2008 to 2013, about $53,000 in 2014, $428,000 in 2015, and $535,000 in 2016. According to the charity, the Switzerland-based McCall MacBain Foundation has been responsible for the majority of the increase in foreign donations.

John McCall MacBain, a Canadian businessman, is a founder of the McCall MacBain Foundation and chairman of the Trudeau Foundation. MacBain is the 75th richest person in Canada and has a net worth of $1.37 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine.

He sold his global classified-advertising empire in 2006. Yellow Pages bought the Canadian branch, called Trader Canada, for $760 million. MacBain now lives in Switzerland but comes to Canada regularly to give money to universities and other education-related charities.

The $53,000 foreign donation in 2014 was a single contribution from the McCall MacBain Foundation, with the Switzerland-based foundation giving $428,000 in 2015 and Google accounting for the rest. The McCall MacBain Foundation donated $500,000 in 2016, with the remaining $35,000 coming from four Canadians affiliated with the Trudeau Foundation and living outside Canada, according to the foundation.

The McCall MacBain Foundation did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking why their donations increased and what, if any, contact they had with Trudeau family members, federal cabinet ministers, or other Liberal party members since donating to the Trudeau foundation.

In an email sent on behalf of the charity, Trudeau Foundation executive director Elise Comtois said the rapid growth in overall donations and sponsorships since 2014 can be explained by an increased focus on fundraising since that year, in an effort to make up for sluggish returns caused by historically low interest rates. The foundation’s tax returns show significant surpluses of more than $2 million in 2014 and 2015, but the charity said that surplus really only exists on paper. It can’t spend the money, Comtois said, without cashing in securities it would prefer not to sell, causing a cash shortfall of $1.2 million in 2015.

“Unrealized gain on investments are not ‘real money.’ They are simply an accounting treatment to reflect the market value of the investments,” Comtois said. “In the current historically low interest rate environment, the revenues earned by the endowment are not sufficient to cover the Foundation’s expenses.”

Kate Bahen, managing director of the Canadian charity research organization Charity Intelligence, disagreed with the foundation’s assertion that its surplus is not “real.” The charity’s total funding reserves have grown to about $150 million, more than enough to cover its funding commitments even if investment returns take a hit, she said.

“The last thing I would do now is embark on a new fundraising drive,” Bahen said in an email. “There is no financial need for donations if the Foundation holds its current course — which I believe is having good results. It would remove any risk of reputational damage from innuendo (about) those trying to curry favour with the current Trudeau government.”

The Trudeau Foundation did indeed hire a director of development in June 2015 to help ramp up its fundraising efforts. The same access-to-information request that included the correspondence between Google and the foundation shows the charity was courting sponsorships aggressively in 2014, creating what chief executive Morris Rosenberg called “a program of sponsorship opportunities inviting corporations to invest in the Foundation’s work.”

A chart attached to the package of marketing materials sent to Google on Sept. 4 2014 expanded on those sponsorship incentives, including a section labelled “Networking opportunities.” A gift of $50,000 or more entitled a sponsor to convene a private event for up to 25 people, with “key members of the Trudeau Foundation Society.” Justin Trudeau, who was Liberal leader at the time, was named along with his brother at the bottom of a list of foundation members.

Comtois noted in the foundation’s statement that Justin Trudeau had not yet formally withdrawn from its affairs at the time the list was sent. “It is true that we offer sponsors this opportunity (to network), not just with regard to members and directors but also with regard to our scholars, fellows, and mentors. This said, Justin Trudeau has not attended a single Foundation event for 10 years or so.”

Candice Bergen, the Conservative house leader and a vocal critic in the House of Commons of perceived conflicts of interest related to the Trudeau Foundation, told the Post she was troubled by the fact the charity continued to list Justin Trudeau as a member in marketing materials to potential sponsors more than a year after he was elected Liberal leader.

“The now-Prime Minister has been listed on this foundation all the way into 2014 as a selling feature,” she said. “It would stand to reason that people now would be assuming that if they’re donating to this foundation that they will see a benefit of having access to people in government.”


On Wednesday, the office of federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson announced it is reviewing Conservative leader Ambrose’s complaint about possible ethical breaches by the Liberals, including Zhang’s donation to the Trudeau Foundation.

Duff Conacher, cofounder of the government accountability group Democracy Watch, said the prime minister should be concerned about avoiding any appearance of a conflict of interest, regardless of whether one actually exists. His family ties to the Trudeau Foundation undoubtedly create such an appearance, he said.

“I don’t think anyone can justifiably claim that it’s a coincidence that the donations have increased since he became leader and increased again since he became Prime Minister,” Conacher said. “The question that has to be asked is: Would Justin Trudeau be pleased or gratified by donations to the Trudeau foundation? And I think the answer is yes.”


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trudeau says he’s lobbied, but not influenced, at Liberal fundraisers

Steven Chase And Robert Fife

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 2:12PM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Monday that people lobby him at Liberal Party cash-for-access fundraisers, but said he ultimately makes up his own mind on what is good for Canada.

It is the first time the Prime Minister has admitted that government business is being discussed at partisan Liberal money-raising events. This activity runs contrary to the very rules the Liberal Party made public earlier this year where it said government business is not discussed at pay-to-play fundraisers. At these events, Canadians or non-citizens who are permanent residents pay as much as $1,500 for access to the prime minister or other cabinet ministers.

Mr. Trudeau was asked at a year-end news conference how he handles encounters at fundraisers where he is the headline guest and people discuss government policy with him. He was also asked whether he reports these contacts to federal authorities.

“I can say that in various Liberal Party events I listen to people, as I will in any given situation, but the decisions I take in government are ones based on what is right for Canadians and not on what an individual in a fundraiser might say,” the Prime Minister said.

His response to reporters contradicts what the party’s interim national director Christina Topp wrote in a Nov. 4 letter to all Liberal cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries. In this missive, which was distributed widely, Ms. Topp said nothing of this sort occurs.

“Any individual who wishes to initiate a policy discussion is immediately redirected to instead make an appointment with the relevant office. As you know, fundraising events are partisan functions where we do not discuss government business,” Ms. Topp wrote.

Mr. Trudeau tried to play down the access that Liberal donors get during his response at a year-end news conference Monday – and he listed all sorts of public appearances he makes where people can encounter him.

“I and my entire government make ourselves extremely available to Canadians through a broad range of venues. Through town halls, through press conferences like this,” he said, referring to the news conference with media in Ottawa.

“The fact is, my approach continues to be to listen broadly to every different opportunity that I get – and make the right decisions based on what is good for Canada.”

In the House of Commons, the opposition parties picked up on Ms. Topp’s letter that she had sent to all cabinet minister and parliamentary secretaries. Ms. Topp has since been replaced as the Liberal Party’s national director.

“[Ms. Topp] said anyone who tried it would be immediately asked to make an appointment with the relevant office. That actually sounds like the way it is supposed to work,” interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said. “But the Prime Minister has now thrown his national director under the bus. Now he brags openly about discussing government business at fundraisers. Why is the Prime Minister bragging about the doing the exact opposition of what is ethical?”

NDP MP Alexander Boulerice stood in the House to remind Mr. Trudeau that he promised to run the most ethical government that Canadians had ever witnessed, including laying new open and accountable government rules that state “there should be no preferential access to government, nor appearance of preferential access” in exchange for political donations.

“Guess what this government did? They broke those rules,” he said. “What’s the rules when you break your own rules and give special access for party donations. Oh yes, corruption.”

Mr. Trudeau was in the Commons but Government House Leader Bardish Chagger repeated what the government has been saying for weeks that the Liberal Party follows Canada’s election financing laws. Since The Globe and Mail revealed the cash-for-access fundraisers on October 19, Mr. Trudeau and other ministers have not made any reference to the Liberal Party rules or the Prime Minister’s ethical guidelines that he released shortly after forming government last year


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pay-to-play could hurt Trudeau's reputation: Pollster

By Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun
First posted: Monday, December 12, 2016 09:54 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 12:07 AM EST

The so-called pay-to-play scandal risks tarnishing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reputation, pollster Nik Nanos says.

The Liberal Party has to be careful with controversies, like cash-for-access events, that directly involve the prime minister in the public’s mind, he said.

“Smaller fundraisers that include the prime minister would make a significant portion of Canadians uncomfortable and would put the prime minister’s reputation at risk, “ Nanos said.

Trudeau was asked about cash-for-access events Monday after the release of the Nanos-Globe and Mail poll that found the majority of Canadians disapprove of the type of big ticket political fundraisers he and his cabinet ministers attend.

Trudeau admitted that he gets lobbied on government business when he’s the featured draw at Liberal party fundraisers.

The prime minister said he’s often approached by people who want to talk about issues that matter to them.

Trudeau said he doesn’t let anything donors say to him influence government decisions, that his decisions are based strictly on what’s right for Canada.

The Nanos poll suggests Canadians are aware of this issue, and are not convinced it’s harmless fundraising.

More than six in 10 Canadians disapprove or somewhat disapprove of political parties hosting $1,500-a-plate fundraisers, and 48% believe donors would be able or somewhat able to influence the prime minister on an issue of importance to them.

Another 33% are OK with the fundraisers and 46% think the donors would likely have no influence.

The impact of the pay-to-play scandal is magnified in Ontario, where the provincial Liberals have been accused of behaving in a similar fashion, Nanos said.

“In Canada’s largest province where there’s the biggest swath of votes to grab, the last thing that the Liberal brand needs is controversy related to fundraising ... where the federal Liberals get lumped into some of the problems that the provincial Liberals are linked to,” he said. “It makes it quite difficult because there are significant numbers of very substantial connections between the Ontario Liberal Party and Prime Minister Trudeau’s staff so they have to tread very carefully not to put the prime minister at risk.”

The poll revealed that the cozier the gathering, the more the public grew alarmed.

Although 50.7% thought it would be impossible to influence a cabinet minister with a $1,500 donation to a political party, those who did believe that a politician could be swayed thought it would be more likely at a small-scale event.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In most of the world, giving 'gifts' to the people you hope to do business with, or the people who open doors for you is normal. It's done for exactly the reasons we suspect, to create a sense of obligation. It doesn't have to be tied to a specific favour.

The Chinese are a very old civilization. They are used to this, which, after all, has been normal over most of the world over most of history.

If we expect to find documentary evidence that would prove a criminal charge, we will fail. But everybody knows what is going on in these meetings. Is isn''t the $1500/head that counts -- it's the promise of what is to come.

What if the Kinder Morgan decision had more to do with Chinese interests than with Canadian, for example? From a Chinese perspective, they might well have expected the Liberals to deny the requisite permission. The NIMBY effect is particularly strong in BC. Trudeau's own statements suggest he's environmentally sensitive. Given the stakes, why wouldn't China use a little ''grease" to ensure this project goes through?

On the google case. Google was being investigated for anti-competitive practices, so they applied a little "grease" and the problem went away. Who knows how google can help a government? Where's the bribe, if it's cooperation. As far as anyone knows, everything is deniable.

The more they get away with, the more their greed grows.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( trudeau claimed the fundraisers are really about the middle class ? really does he think anyone is that dumb ? )

Trudeau Says Private Fundraisers Are Really About The Middle Class

The Huffington Post Canada | By Ryan Maloney


Posted: 12/13/2016 5:39 pm EST Updated: 4 hours ago

A day after admitting to being lobbied at private Liberal fundraisers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly told his rivals that the only thing he talks about at such events are ways to help the middle class.

Unfortunately for the prime minister, opposition parties aren’t buying it.

justin trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Dec.13, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Trudeau faced a barrage of questions from interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair over his admission that government business does surface at events where donors pay up to $1,500 to rub shoulders with him.

The prime minister told reporters Monday that while he listens “broadly” to donors, he doesn’t grant them special influence and makes decisions on what is best for Canadians.

Ambrose kicked off question period Tuesday by accusing Trudeau of “bragging” about being the target of “illegal lobbying activities” that are beneath the dignity of his office.

Trudeau responded that Canadians can be assured that wherever he goes, he’s talking about making things better for the middle class. Namely, how his government raised taxes on the wealthiest Canadians to lower them for middle-income earners and how Liberals stopped sending child benefit cheques to richer families so that they could give more to those earning less.

'What happened?'

Ambrose sparked some chuckles by saying it appeared Trudeau had “changed his talking points about following the rules.”

For weeks, Trudeau and Government House Leader Bardish Chagger have tried to deflect questions about so-called cash-for-access events by pointing out that they don’t run afoul of fundraising laws.

Ambrose charged that the prime minister’s own ethics guidelines have become a joke.

“What happened? When did money become more important than the integrity of his office?” she asked.

“Canadians know that I say the same thing in any given context,” Trudeau replied, sparking some jeers.

“"Canadians know that I say the same thing in any given context."
— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Again, the prime minister said he’s “always talking” about his government’s middle class priorities, including raising taxes on the wealthiest “one percent” and beefing up child benefits for middle class families.

Trudeau gave much the same answer, moments later, when Ambrose asked if he understood why the fundraisers needed to stop.

“Canadians now think the prime minister can be bought and he’s already done enough damage to his office,” Ambrose said. “So, when is he going to stop this cash for access fundraising? Today?”

“Canadians well know that we raised taxes on the wealthiest one percent so we could lower them for the middle class,” Trudeau responded, accusing Tories voted against that effort to “protect their friends.”

"'Just watch me' has become 'just trust me'"

Things didn’t get any easier when Mulcair stepped up.

The NDP leader pointed out how Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc had earlier told the House of Commons that government business was not discussed at such events — a remark that Trudeau contradicted this week.

The prime minister again defaulted to his talking point about raising taxes on the rich and stripping their child benefits.

“Those are our priorities and we talk about them in every given context,” Trudeau said.

“It seems that ‘just watch me’ has become ‘just trust me,’ and on this, Canadians just don’t,” Mulcair shot back, referencing the famous words of the prime minister’s father.

“"The problem with saying that he listens but isn’t influenced is that it reminds people of someone who said that he smoked pot and didn’t inhale."
— NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair

Mulcair even compared Trudeau’s responses to another famous politician — Bill Clinton.

“The problem with saying that he listens but isn’t influenced is that it reminds people of someone who said that he smoked pot and didn’t inhale,” Mulcair said. “Nobody believes it.”


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GOLDSTEIN: Many think Trudeau can be bought

Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun
Dec 12, 2016
, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

It’s comforting to know that as 2016 comes to a close, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not being influenced — not even a teeny, tiny bit — by private, fund-raising soirees with Chinese billionaires and other executives lobbying his government for stuff they want.

As Trudeau told The Canadian Press Monday, while he does get lobbied at these cash-for-access events, that’s no different than Canadians lobbying him on all sorts of issues, free of charge, as he goes about his daily prime ministerial duties.

We can rest assured, Trudeau added, that when political donors to the Liberals ask him for something, he treats the request no differently than he would that of any average Joe or Jane.

After all, Trudeau noted, he only makes decisions based on what’s right for Canadians and you’d have to be a cynic to think otherwise.

Trudeau ally, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, said the same thing in the face of reports her cabinet ministers were assigned political fundraising quotas, to be obtained from businesses and unions affected by their decisions at private, fund-raising soirees.

That is, until her Liberal government’s cash-for-access controversy got so hot that Wynne has now promised fundraising reforms.

Since we have Trudeau’s word neither he nor his cabinet ministers are influenced by political donations, it seems almost churlish to note that a Nanos-Globe and Mail poll released Monday shows 62% of Canadians surveyed don’t approve of business people paying $1,500 per ticket for Liberal fundraisers.

This for a chance to lobby — unsuccessfully, insists the prime minister — him or his ministers.

Despite that, the poll found 48% of Canadians surveyed believe Trudeau could be influenced by such donations, with 46% saying he couldn’t be.

To be fair, political fundraising is legal and all governing parties trade access for cash, as does the opposition, although not as successfully because they don’t have power.

Overall, at year’s end, Trudeau’s government remains popular with Canadians — albeit down somewhat from its long, post-election honeymoon.

This despite such gaffes as Trudeau recently speaking in glowing terms about his late father’s pal, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who imprisoned and executed thousands of men, women and children.

Despite that, Trudeau’s statement commemorating Castro’s death at 90 read in part: “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people, who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”

That prompted widespread mockery of the PM on Twitter at #TrudeauEulogies, such as by “Deplorable Michael,” who opined: “Osama Bin Laden was certainly a controversial figure, but his contribution to airport security is unparalleled.”

And on that note, 2017 can’t come fast enough.

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Liberal Ministers holding cash for access fundraisers ?

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