Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation: President and Entire Board Resigns Over Chinese Political Donations Scandal

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a non-profit scholarship organization dedicated to the memory of former prime minister and Justin Trudeau’s father, has been in upheaval ever since the Globe and Mail uncovered a hefty political donation from a Chinese billionaire earlier this year. So much so, in fact, that the charity’s entire board of 18 directors, as well as the president and CEO Pascale Fournier, have submitted their resignations.

“In recent weeks, the political climate surrounding a donation received by the Foundation in 2016 has put a great deal of pressure on the Foundation’s management and volunteer Board of Directors, as well as on our staff and our community,” reads a statement published by the foundation on Tuesday. “The circumstances created by the politicization of the Foundation have made it impossible to continue with the status quo, and the volunteer Board of Directors has resigned, as has the President and CEO.” 

The announcement comes in light of a recent scathing Globe and Mail report that the Trudeau Foundation received a $200,000 gift from Chinese billionaire and political advisor to the Chinese Communist Party Zhang Bin during Canada’s 2015 federal election. Shortly after the story made headlines, the non-profit organization announced earlier this month it’s returning the donation to the respective donor.

“We cannot keep any donation that may have been sponsored by a foreign government and would not knowingly do so,” said Fournier. “In light of these recent allegations, the foundation has refunded to the donor all amounts received with respect to the donation pledge.” The foundation ended up refunding only $140,000, as it only ever received two $70,000 payments.

The Trudeau Foundation was also seen unfavourably after Justin Trudeau appointed former governor-general and long-time family friend David Johnston as special rapporteur to oversee a probe into Chinese political interference during the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. At the time, Johnston was a Trudeau Foundation member, but he stepped down in light of the prime minister’s appointment.

Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned within the article. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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