Thanks to Vancouver Granville Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed’s real estate flipping scandal, the high cost of housing became an issue in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pandemic power grab election.
Who saw that coming?
Some of Trudeau’s most-loyal donors are in the China-reliant West Coast real estate industry, according to the Elections Canada database.
Retiring Vancouver Granville independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, in her new memoir, “Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, described the owner of the Fairmont Pacific Rim as a friend of Trudeau. That is Ian Gillespie, whose Westbank is notorious for marketing Vancouver condos to investors from China.
He donated $12,809.65 over four contributions in 2015 and 2019.
Gillespie has also donated $6,150 to the NDP, just over half that to Jagmeet Singh’s leadership campaign in 2017.
Gillespie’s Westbank is the developer partnered with the Squamish Nation for its multi-billion-dollar Senakw play around the Burrard Bridge. Since it’s on reserve land, it will require federal, not civic, approvals.
In May 2019, Gillespie hosted a cash for access fundraiser for Trudeau and Vancouver South’s Harjit Sajjan at the Neptune Chinese restaurant in May 2019. Earlier on the same day, “condo king” Bob Rennie was involved in a fundraising lunch at the Opus Hotel in Yaletown.
Rennie donated $21,161.50 to the Liberals from 2005 to 2019.
Concord Pacific is best-known for developing False Creek North. It also owns the Westin Bayshore, old St. Paul’s hospital site and vacant Molson Brewery. Some major, strategic parcels of land.
Its CEO, Terry Hui, is also a donor to the Liberals: $13,357.93 since 2017.
The Wall family has supported the BC Liberals and Vision Vancouver. Bruno Wall sent $20,928.37 to the Liberals between 2005 and 2019.
Remember Michael Mo Yeung Ching, the son of a Chinese Communist Party bigwig? In the lead-up to the 2015 election, he gave the Trudeau Liberals $11,731.63. Ching, developer of Richmond’s Hotel Versante, was fighting deportation to China at the time. In 2020, he got his citizenship and his company, Sunwins, got into the mask business.
He hasn’t donated to the Liberals recently. Instead, he sent $3,250 to the Conservatives last year.
Holborn, the Malaysian-owned developer of the troubled Trump Tower, made headlines when its sweetheart deal to redevelop the Little Mountain social housing lands was finally revealed. CEO Joo Kim Tiah donated three times to the Harper Conservatives, totalling $3,400, between 2012 and 2014.
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