Here are eight examples of the very close ties between Special Rapporteur David Johnston, China and Justin Trudeau

Here are eight examples of the close ties between Special Rapporteur David Johnston , China and Justin Trudeau


Special Rapporteur David Johnston ruled this week that there was no need for a public inquiry into Chinese interference in Canada. If no one questions the latter's impressive track record, experts still believe that Justin Trudeau was ill-advised to choose him because of his past ties, both with the Chinese regime and with the family of the Prime Minister. Was Mr. Johnston really the best person to give this mandate to, among nearly 40 million Canadians? Our Bureau of Investigation has identified eight cases where the former Governor General had close ties to China and the Trudeaus.

1. Considered a “friend of China” by Xi Jinping

In 2013 and 2017, David Johnston met personally with Chinese President Xi Jinping as Governor General of Canada. Ironically, just as a meeting was taking place in 2017, the writer Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize 2010, died in prison. Arrested in 2008 by Chinese authorities, Liu was awarded the prize for his “sustainable and non-violent efforts for human rights in China”. “He died while Mr. Johnston and Mr. Xi were exchanging pleasantries,” reports the Globe and Mail. Xi Jinping refers to Mr. Johnston as an old friend of the Chinese people. “It is wonderful to be back in China. I feel like I've come home,” Mr. Johnston is quoted.


2. Honorary doctorate awarded by an official of the Communist Party of China

In 2012, David Johnston received an honorary doctorate from Nanjing University, in particular for his role in establishing a Confucius Institute at the University of Waterloo and another institute on China at the University. McGill University. According to a report published by state media China Network Television at the time, the award was presented to him by Hong Yinxing, secretary of the [Chinese Communist] Party Committee at Nanjing University. “Before becoming governor, you visited China more than 10 times and spared no effort to promote cooperation between universities of the two countries,” also congratulated a former Chinese ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai. , as reported at the time.


3. Confucius Institute

In 2006, when he was president of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, David Johnston was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of a Confucius Institute linked to the Chinese state in an affiliated college. If the Confucius Institutes were first perceived as benign organizations promoting Chinese culture abroad, the reality is quite different, according to former Canadian ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques. “It goes much further […] [The Chinese government] is using this to shut down any discussion of what it considers to be the five poisons which are Tibet, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Falun Gong and the promotion of democracy in China,” he said.

4. Canada-China Business Council

In 2013, David Johnston delivered the keynote address at the Annual General Meeting of the Canada-China Business Council in Beijing. This organization brings together Chinese and Canadian companies, including the controversial firm Huawei. It was founded by the Desmarais family and aims to develop business between Canada and China. David Johnston presents in his speech Paul Desmarais (father), the former boss of Power Corporation (which has interests in China), as a friend. Sino-Canadian economic and cultural relations are described in dithyrambic terms and as being called upon to develop significantly in the years to come.

5. His children in China

David Johnston's three daughters studied at Chinese universities. “They have learned a lot, made many friends, and they share their appreciation for Chinese culture and language with their loved ones,” he told the Canada-China Business Council.

6. Trudeau Foundation

David Johnston is a member of the Trudeau Foundation, which in recent months has found itself at the heart of a scandal in connection with an announced donation of $200,000 by two Chinese businessmen, including one close to the Communist Party. Several media have reported many problems with this donation, including the fact that the Chinese government would be the real initiator. It was officially done by a Dorval firm, but the receipt was made out to an address in Hong Kong. The donation to the Foundation would have been discussed in a context where the Justin Trudeau Liberals could take power.

7. Rideau Hall Foundation

Following the end of his functions as governor general, David Johnston established the Rideau Hall Foundation, of which he is the president. We can see on the board of directors of this foundation several figures deemed close to China, as reported by the National Post. Among them, Dominic Barton (ex-director of McKinsey and ex-Canadian ambassador to China), Paul Desmarais III (Canada-China Business Council), John Manley (minister under Jean Chrétien), Beverley McLachlin (judge in Hong Kong) and John Montalbano (head of a subsidiary of the Royal Bank managing the acquisition of natural resources abroad for a Chinese fund). 

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8. Trudeau family friend

David Johnston is a longtime personal friend of the Trudeau family. Pierre Elliott Trudeau's children, including Justin Trudeau, skied with Mr. Johnston's in Mont-Tremblant when the prime minister was still a child, according to a 2016 CTV report. also that his grandchildren meet those of Mr. Trudeau at Rideau Hall Park, the Trudeau family living next to the Governor General's house. In a 2010 CBC interview, Justin Trudeau referred to David Johnston as a frequent dinner companion with whom he had great conversations.

What they think

“In cases like these, perception is more important than reality […] Unfortunately, over the past few months, I think the trust in Mr. Johnston has been really affected due to the exposure of his ties to Mr. Trudeau and his family” – Artur Wilczynsky, foreign policy expert and Security and Intelligence (University of Ottawa).

“I would have seen Justice Louise Arbor [as special rapporteur]. I would have had great confidence […] Mr. Trudeau could have chosen to appoint someone who was critical [of China]” – Guy Saint-Jacques, former Canadian ambassador to China.

< p>“Johnston is a wise and experienced person, but his wisdom and experience have caused him in this case to place a higher value on stability than on an unpleasant and possibly disruptive truth” – David Mulroney, ex -Canadian Ambassador to China.

With the collaboration of Yves Lévesque.