Last Monday, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose wrote to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner and to the lobbying commissioner, asking them to investigate Liberal fundraising practices — and in particular, whether people might be using donations to the charitable Trudeau Foundation to gain influence with the government.
A National Post analysis of the Trudeau Foundation’s public disclosures has found that gifts to the foundation have increased significantly since Justin Trudeau’s April 2013 election as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The amount of money contributed to the foundation by foreign donors has grown each year since Trudeau claimed the party’s leadership. Moreover, a significant proportion of the charity’s donors, directors and members have ties to companies and organizations that are actively lobbying the federal government.
Whether or not the foundation violates conflict-of-interest laws, its operations represent another challenge to the high ethical standard Trudeau has established for his government. The Open and Accountable Government guide, codified after Trudeau became prime minister in October 2015, specifies that when fundraising or dealing with lobbyists, “Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries must avoid conflict of interest, the appearance of conflict of interest and situations that have the potential to involve conflicts of interest.”