(Ottawa) The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swears he respected the rules governing the financing of political parties when he attended in May at a Liberal fundraiser in Toronto that brought together wealthy Chinese businessmen who paid $ 1,500 each to meet.
The newspaper The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that the event was held in Toronto residence of the Sino-Canadian businessman Benson Wong – who is also chairman of the board of the Chinese Business Chamber of Canada – and that one of the guests in question was a wealthy donor who was awaiting approval from the federal government to establish a new bank in the country, the Wealth one.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has finally given the green light to the promoter of the bank, Shenglin Xian, to start operations in July, a few months later. The office of the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said Wealth One had obtained a provisional authorization of the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper a year earlier.
Arrested several times yesterday by the Conservative Party and the NDP on what, according to them, a flagrant violation of rules of ethics and the rules adopted by Mr. Trudeau himself, the Prime Minister defended himself by stating that he had carefully observed the political financing rules that limit to $ 1,500 donations that can individuals.
“We have the strictest rules in the country, political financing, and they are always followed. Individuals can not give more than $ 1,500 a year to political parties. This demonstrates that there is, in our system, a level of trust that other levels of government or often other governments around the world simply do not have. Canadians can be proud of our system here in Canada, “Trudeau said.
In its issue of yesterday, The Globe and Mail also reported that one of the participants in the fundraising event organized by Benson Wong was Chinese businessman Zhang Bin. The latter, with the businessman Niu Gensheng, made a significant donation, totaling $ 1 million at the Law Faculty of the University of Montreal and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. This donation was made to recognize the leadership of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of the current Prime Minister, who was one of the first Western leaders to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1970.
But the newspaper also noted to have no evidence that Mr. Zhang has paid $ 1,500 to meet Justin Trudeau. Mr. Zhang, who is also political adviser to the Chinese government and president of the China Cultural Industry Association, can legally donate to a Canadian political party because it does not hold Canadian citizenship.
In recent weeks, the Toronto newspaper multiplied the reports about the privileged access that reach some donors of the party with the most influential ministers in parts of the country. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr attended private activities with people who are paid up to $ 1,500 to the Liberal Party .
Trudeau violated its own rules, accusing the opposition
The opposition parties accuse the prime minister and his ministers to violate the new rules that Mr. Trudeau himself had delivered to his office upon arrival to power of the Liberals there one year. These rules stipulate particular that there should be “no preferential access to government, or appearance of preferential access granted to individuals or organizations because of the financial contributions they have made to politicians or political parties” .
“I do not know if we recall the advertising saying that in life, there are some things that money can not buy, but for everything else, there’s MasterCard. Going beyond the checkbook, because it seems that the entire Liberal cabinet is buyable, including the Prime Minister “, launched yesterday in the Commons NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice.
The interim leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose, added: “Clearing the way with millionaires during privileged access to financing events does not feel good and the Prime Minister very well knows. When he will end all this? “