The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation has decided to give back the Chinese Communist Party-backed donation recently discovered.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family foundation announced on Wednesday it would return the money “to the donor.”
“The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has learned in recent days through the media that there was a potential connection between the Chinese government and a 2016 pledge of $200,000 to be received by the Foundation,” read a statement.
“As an independent, non-partisan charity, ethics and integrity are among our core values and we cannot keep any donation that may have been sponsored by a foreign government and would not knowingly do so.”
“In light of these recent allegations, the Foundation has refunded to the donor all amounts received with respect to the donation pledge.”
This follows Prime Minister Trudeau saying on Monday 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.
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.
Yet, Zhang attended a 2016 cash-for-access fundraiser put on for Trudeau as the guest of honour, just months before the donation.
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.