A former board member of the Trudeau Foundation has revealed that the organization invested in two Chinese companies that have been accused of violating privacy rights and collaborating with the Chinese communist regime.
More connections between the Trudeau Foundation and the Chinese government continue to be unearthed as a parliamentary committee digs deeper into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s elections.
Madeleine Redfern, businesswoman and former mayor of Iqaluit, told the House of Commons ethics committee on June 2, 2023 that under 1% of the organization’s investment profile is with Tencent and Baidu, two of China’s largest tech firms.
Redfern, who was part of the Trudeau Foundation’s finance and investment committee and had recently resigned from the foundation’s board, said she asked the foundation last year about its investments in China but the organization brushed off her concerns.
“I definitely had some concerns around the possibility of Chinese investments depending on where those investments were,” said Redfern.
“I had a fulsome discussion with the members of the committee and the investment firm about how we invest and was told that we have ESG [environmental, social, and governance] principles that guide the investments and that quite a lot of work had been done before my arrival to sort of help direct the firm on how we make investments.”
Tencent, the developer of the popular WeChat app, and Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, have both been involved in surveillance and censorship activities, according to reports by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.
“Having been on many different boards over the last 30 years, I was satisfied with the level of governance on the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation until we hit that crisis a couple months ago,” said Redfern.
Media reports based on intelligence sources claimed that the Trudeau Foundation received a $140,000 donation from businessman Zhang Bin under the direction of Beijing.