Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal Party is going to do something about the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver.
The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP are proposing limits to foreign buying in their platforms for Trudeau’s pandemic snap election on Sept. 20. But skyrocketing real estate prices and money laundering didn’t suddenly become hot button issues in the summer of 2021.
Rewind to June 2016, when Trudeau came to Vancouver for transit and tech photo ops with BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Trudeau chaired a meeting on June 17, 2016 at the Pan Pacific Hotel to hear from two dozen people across Vancouver’s housing spectrum, including Westbank CEO and Trudeau bagman Ian Gillespie, Urban Development Institute lobbyist Jon Stovell, social housing executive Janice Abbott, Vancity credit union CEO Tamara Vrooman and academics David Ley, Andy Yan, Paul Kershaw and Tom Davidoff,
MPs Joyce Murray, Jonathan Wilkinson and Hedy Fry joined Trudeau for the event.
“There is no question that concerted, thoughtful effort is going to be needed to address the situation, but we have to be very wary of unintended consequences,” Trudeau told reporters.
The night before, Trudeau secretly met with some of the wealthy elites responsible for pricing the middle class out of Vancouver.
Among the guests at a private Liberal Party fundraiser was Rong Xiang “Tiger” Yuan.
The former high-ranking soldier in the Chinese Communist Party’s military wing sat to Trudeau’s left during the dinner, according to a photograph that appears in the upcoming book, the Mosaic Effect by Scott McGregor and Ina Mitchell.
Richmond resident Yuan owns a Port Coquitlam gun store and a highly secured compound with a private shooting range on former farmland in Chilliwack. The People’s Liberation Army veteran frequently appears at local VIP events, side-by-side with Tong Xiaoling, China’s top diplomat in Western Canada.
Liberal Party returns to Elections Canada show three donations received July 6, 2016 from Yuan, totalling $4,299.30.
Yuan directed one of those to the Papineau Federal Liberal Association, the re-election fund in Trudeau’s home riding in Montreal.
Sources say the fundraiser was also part of Trudeau’s preparation for his first official visit to China as Prime Minister. Just six weeks later, he traveled to China and met Xi Jinping for the first time at the G20 summit in Hangzhou.
Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister when Canada and China established diplomatic relations in 1970.
In 2013, two years before Justin Trudeau became PM, he openly expressed admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship.”
Before the end of 2016, however, Trudeau’s private fundraisers with Chinese real estate tycoons could no longer be kept secret. A Chinese state media outlet in Wenzhou publicized a private Trudeau dinner at the Shaughnessy mansion of real estate investor Miaofei Pan. Afterward, the Liberals were embarrassed into publishing their fundraising guest lists in 2017 and beyond.
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