Conservative MP dismisses Trudeau Foundation member David Johnston as 'special rapporteur' on China scandal

"He is the wrong choice. He’s a friend of the prime minister," MP Michael Cooper said.


MP Michael Cooper (CPC-St. Albert Edmonton) said Friday that appointing former Governor General David Johnston as a special rapporteur to investigate China’s interference in Canadian elections is “the wrong choice” but that the appointment itself is “a smokescreen.”

“He is the wrong choice. He’s a friend of the prime minister,” Cooper told The Post Millennial, noting that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “has a lot to answer for.”

“[Johnston’s] in a conflict and he should never have been appointed.”

But Cooper, who has been busy all week as the lead Conservative Party member of the Procedure and House Affairs Committee (PROC), says the office of special rapporteur should not be looking into Chinese interference.

“Frankly David Johnston should not be the special rapporteur ... but at the end of the day the special rapporteur is nothing more than a smokescreen. This is someone who reports to the prime minister and isn’t truly independent as a consequence … he is a member of the Trudeau Foundation investigation election interference by Bejing that may implicate Trudeau and so what we need is an independent public inquiry.”

“This is something that should have united Canadians, to get to the bottom of it … this is a prime minister who has something to hide,” Cooper told the Post Millennial.

“Nothing has been done to stand up to Bejing. There have been no charges laid, no diplomats expelled – nothing has been done by this government.”

Johnston is indeed a close friend of Trudeau and member of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, the same group that took, and only this month (after intense media scrutiny) returned $200,000 from a Chinese businessman, who was reimbursed for the donation by the CCP. There was also a $1 million discussion regarding a promised China statue of dictator Mao Zedong and Pierre Elliott Trudeau together, on the grounds of the University of Montreal, in return for the donation to the Trudeau Foundation with the $800,00 balance going to the University of Montreal.

Although appointed by former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the office of governor general, Johnston has been a longtime member of the Ottawa establishment and also friendly to China.

While visiting China in 2017 to lead a trade mission, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping told Johnston, “You are an old friend of the Chinese people.” Johnston told Xi, “Mr. President, it’s wonderful to be back in China. I feel I’ve returned home,” adding “We are especially grateful to you for making time for us.”

Cooper wouldn’t comment on what Trudeau was thinking when he decided to put Johnston in his new job.

“Look, I don’t know what the prime minister thinks but what the prime minister needs to do is come clean and answer questions about what he knows, when he learned about it and why he failed to act.”

The MP said the Liberals on the PROC have been exceedingly obstructionist, refusing to allow committee members to hear the testimony of Trudeau Chief of Staff Katie Telford. They filibustered for 24 hours to delay Opposition demands to hear Telford, prompting Cooper to say “are actions of a government that has something to hide.”

“The only explanation is that the prime minister has something to hide and what he has to hide must be bad, it must be really bad.”

Cooper is promising to force a vote in the House of Commons on Telford’s testimony, as part of the Opposition Day motion on Tuesday..

“We’re going to keep up the pressure … the prime minister’s conduct has been completely unacceptable.”

Cooper wouldn’t speculate whether Trudeau is losing the support of his caucus in refusing to have a public inquiry.

“I don’t know what Liberal MPs are saying behind closed doors but I do know what they’re doing at committee and that is they’re taking their orders from Justin Trudeau to obstruct the work of the … committee and to get answers … and they should stop that.”


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