Weeks after returning a Chinese Communist Party-backed donation, the entire Board of Directors, President, and CEO from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation have resigned.
A statement released by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau foundation on Tuesday indicates the scandal was too much to handle for the foundation’s current brass.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
Last month, The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation decided to give back the Chinese Communist Party-backed donation recently discovered. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family foundation announced it would return the money “to the donor.”
This followed Prime Minister Trudeau saying that he wasn’t involved with his family’s charity ever since he was elected in 2015, suggesting he had no idea that CCP advisor Zhang Bin donated to the Trudeau Foundation in 2016.
However, Trudeau met Zhang in 2016 at a cash-for-access Liberal Party fundraiser hosted by the Chinese Business Chamber of Canada chair Benson Wong. Trudeau was the guest of honour at the event.
Zhang donated $1 million to “honour the memory and leadership” of Trudeau’s father and former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, as reported in the Globe and Mail.
Zhang’s donation consisted of $200,000 to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, $750,000 to the University of Montreal’s faculty of law (where Pierre Trudeau graduated from and worked), as well as $50,000 towards a statue of Pierre Trudeau.
Donations to the Trudeau Foundation increased ten fold between 2014 and 2016, the two years between Trudeau first getting elected Prime Minister.