Trudeau faces questions over insurance deal

Ethics watchdog will question PM over international deals following “access for cash” allegations

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Canada’s ethics commissioner plans to question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his involvement in political fundraisers that reportedly offer the privileged access to the leader and his cabinet for a price.

Earlier this month, Vancouver businessman Miaofei Pan told The Globe and Mail that he had invited Trudeau to a fundraiser at his home in November in an attempt to lobby the prime minister to allow Chinese investment in the country (particularly in senior care), lower the bar for foreign real estate developers eager to participate in Canada, as well as relax immigration restrictions for Chinese financiers.

The controversial revelation came as the federal government was reviewing a bid by the Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group to acquire Retirement Concepts—one of BC’s major retirement home chains. The deal is worth over $1 billion and would allow Anbang to provide healthcare services across the region.

Trudeau has been linked to other Liberal party fundraisers; in October, several media reports have documented these events. The Guardian reported that for up to $1,500, a privileged few could join these fundraisers and directly approach members of the government.

Due to these allegations, Conservatives and the New Democratic party have accused Trudeau and his allies of violating the country’s conflict of interest act, and have forwarded their complaints to the ethics commissioner.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson responded to the Conservatives’ compliant in a letter sent Thursday, saying that although there is currently no proof that Trudeau violated any laws, but she would ask him about his participation with the fundraising events.

“While the information provided in support of the allegations is not sufficient to cause me to initiate an examination under the act at this time, your letter and media articles leave me with concerns in relation to Mr. Trudeau’s interactions with individuals involved with the canola export agreement, Wealth One Bank and Anbang Insurance Group,” Dawson said in the letter.

No details as to when Dawson would question Trudeau have been given. A spokesperson for the commissioner, however, noted that Dawson is looking into the matter, and that it is typically standard procedure for the commissioner to follow up with an inquiry when the office receives a complaint.

Depending on how Trudeau answers the ethics commissioner’s questions, Dawson will then decide whether a full investigation into the matter should be initiated.

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