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Trudeau Foundation

Hon. Linda Frum: I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. There have been a number of troubling media reports regarding the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. I would like to ask you to set the record straight. When did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau step away from his involvement with the Trudeau Foundation?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I can't give you a precise date, but I can say that, in the 2014-15 annual report of the foundation, the following statement appeared: The Prime Minister —

. . . has withdrawn from the affairs of the foundation for the duration of his involvement with federal politics.

Senator Frum: That's two years ago. I heard him characterize it today on the news as many, many years ago.

I would like to ask you: You would agree that it is a basic principle that, in cases where a conflict of interest could occur, an ethical wall is created to separate a person of power from that conflict or from the appearance of conflict. I would like to ask you how the ethical wall between the Prime Minister and the Trudeau Foundation is being enforced?

Senator Harder: The Trudeau Foundation is an arm's length, independent foundation, as senators will know. Its financing has been supported by a number of private sector donors, and the board of directors has historically had a representation from a broad range of individuals with party and non-party-affiliated backgrounds.

With respect to the Prime Minister's involvement, as I said, that involvement terminated with his statement as I have referenced. The foundation exercises its responsibilities entirely on its own.

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