Trudeau says he played no role in deal with Chinese government press that republished his memoir in China

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The Conservative Party is asking Canada’s federal ethics watchdog to explain whether it investigated a 2016 deal where a Chinese state-owned publishing house republished Justin Trudeau’s personal memoirs under the title the legend continues.

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Former senior foreign policy and security advisers to the prime minister say they were not consulted on the arrangement, and would have advised Trudeau to reject a deal with a publisher that reports to the local Chinese Communist Party. .

The book deal came in 2016 at a time when Beijing was highly hopeful it could persuade Canada to sign a free trade agreement and was asking Canada to discuss an extradition deal as it told people He sought help in Operation Fox Hunt, a global operation to track down It was said to be criminals, many of whom were Chinese dissidents.

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Conservative candidate Michael Barrett wrote a letter to federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion on Tuesday, seeking clarification.

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“This raises the question of whether Mr. Trudeau had consulted the ethics commissioner before agreeing to such a deal. A book deal with a publisher controlled by the Communist Party of China would be subject to the provisions of Section 7 of the Conflict of Interest Act.” would have implications under, or would require him to recuse, from decisions relating to the Communist Party of China under Section 21 of the Act,” Mr. Barrett wrote.

“It is very important that Canadians can trust that our leaders have no undeclared conflicts of interest with foreign governments. Can you confirm to Canadians that Mr. Trudeau has told you at any time since 2016. Has this secret deal been disclosed?”

Mr Trudeau’s Canadian publisher struck a deal in the first year after the Liberal government took over for a Chinese publisher to sell the book in China.

The Chinese translation, titled Mr Trudeau as prime minister to follow in the footsteps of his father, Pierre, who first began ties with communist-led China, came out in 2016, as Beijing renews its ties with China. Was persuading Canada to deepen. such as free trade deals.

Mr Trudeau’s book released in English common ground In 2014, while he was still on the opposition bench. Yilin Press of Nanjing, China, which is owned by Jiangsu Phoenix Publishing & Media, a state-owned enterprise that takes operational direction from the propaganda department of the Jiangsu Provincial Communist Party Committee, republished it in Chinese.

During the campaign on Tuesday, Mr Trudeau distanced himself from the book deal and declined to explicitly say whether the ethics commissioner fixed the China book deal.

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“All international editions of my book were handled entirely by the publisher,” the Liberal leader said. “All the profits from that book go to the Canadian Red Cross. I don’t see a penny and I don’t care where it gets translated or sold,” he said.

After saying that he did not receive any income from the China book, he was again asked whether the ethics commissioner had approved the book deal.

“The Ethics Commissioner has cleared all my sources of income multiple times,” Mr Trudeau replied.

The federal ethics commissioner’s office declined to say whether the book deal has been investigated.

Spokesperson Melanie Rushworth said the office said privacy rules meant it was “restricted from providing you with the information you’re asking for.”

Ms Rushworth said it was up to Mr Trudeau to respond. “All communications with a regulator are confidential. It will be up to the regulator to provide you with information about any interactions we have with our office.”

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Promotional material for The Legend Continues included a thumbs-up review from Luo Zhaohui, who was the Chinese ambassador to Canada in 2016.

Mr Luo, it said, “strongly recommends” the book. Since leaving his envoy to Canada in 2016, Mr. Luo has been promoted to vice-minister of foreign affairs in the Chinese government, and was most recently named chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency.

Chinese experts call the republishing of Mr Trudeau’s book an excellent move by Beijing to favor foreign leaders.

The marketing copy inherited the Prime Minister as having “the outstanding charisma and leadership qualities of his father”. It added that “because of her beautiful appearance, she was praised as the ‘Hollywood face’.” Publicity of the book in China noted that at the beginning of Mr Trudeau’s first mandate, he signed Canada for Asian Infrastructure led by Beijing. Investment Bank, a development that took place over the objections of the United States. “Trudeau fever,” said the book’s promotional material, “has spread to China.”

The book’s release took place in China at the same time that Chinese billionaire Pierre Elliot was donating money to the Trudeau Foundation, and paying a Beijing-affiliated businessman to participate in a liberal cash-for-access fundraiser with Mr Trudeau.

Richard Faden, who until March 2016 was Mr Trudeau’s national security adviser and former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said he had no idea that the . He said he would strongly recommend against it.

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“It was clearly [without consulting advisers]And when you deal with a state like China and you’re the prime minister, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “They want to do anything to encourage China and the Chinese state to look positive. Trying to do what makes perfect sense from their point of view. It’s not costing them anything at all. “

Mr. Faden said that it is one thing to have the book published in Western countries, but it is quite another to conduct it by the Chinese Ministry of Propaganda. “I guess what I get is that this is all being sponsored by the publicity department,” he said.

Guy Saint-Jacques, who was Canada’s ambassador from 2012 to 2016, said he was also unaware that a publisher in China had bought the rights to the book, and would have advised against it.

“Obviously they wanted to please him by publishing his biography. He is a master of propaganda,” said Mr. Saint-Jacques.

If asked, he said, he would have told Mr Trudeau’s team that the book deal was part of the Chinese’s strategy to lure foreign leaders.

Operation Fox Hunt was launched by President Xi Jinping as an anti-corruption campaign targeting wealthy citizens and corrupt Communist Party members who fled abroad with large sums of money.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray said in July 2020 that the main objective of Operation Fox Hunt now is to quell discontent among Chinese immigrants.

Roland Paris, who was Mr Trudeau’s foreign policy adviser until June 2016, said he does not remember being consulted on the Chinese book deal. Dr Paris, professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa, said he was not sure what he would have recommended.

The Liberal campaign did not respond to questions about why Mr Trudeau agreed to the book deal or whether he was concerned that Beijing was trying to flatter him.

Campaign spokesman Alexandre Deslongchamps said in a statement that Mr Trudeau personally did not take any proceeds from the memoir, which he said was translated into several languages ​​and sold around the world.

“All proceeds from the book, internationally, go to the Canadian Red Cross. Royalties, including their donations, are managed by HarperCollins and the literary agent,” he said, adding that Mr. Trudeau did not claim the tax credit. The contracts with Yilin and HarperCollins were “a lump sum advance and no royalties,” he said. The party would not discuss how much money Yilin paid for the rights to the book.

A Liberal spokesperson said Yilin has published books by other prominent politicians, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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The New York Times reported in 2014 that when Yilin published Ms. Clinton’s 2003 book, Living History, it was retracted because China’s policies and criticism of the Communist Party were removed without permission.

Yilin did not publish Clinton’s 2014 memoir, Hard Choice, which drew significant attention to discussions with Chinese officials on matters such as human rights, including her intervention to rescue a Chinese dissident. The publishing house told the Times in 2014 that “some of the material was not suitable.”

HarperCollins Canada would not discuss the deal for the Chinese publication of the book or whether any of the money went to Trudeau’s private holding company, which is in a blind trust.

“I’m afraid these things are confidential business terms that are not usually discussed with third parties,” HarperCollins editor Jennifer Lambert said in an e-mail.

The Red Cross also declined to answer questions about whether proceeds from The Legend Continues were donated to the organization and how much, saying in a statement that it “respects the privacy of our donors.” and we do not disclose the details of any contributions or donations received.”

Yu Mei, Yilin Press Editor who took over the legend continues, initially set to discuss the publication arrangement, but later declined to answer questions about the advance or how many books were sold, after “checking with my colleagues.”

“The copyright to this book is no longer with our agency. So, I am not doing or answering any interviews,” she said.

When the book was published in China, the Liberal Party was using an under-the-radar tactic that earned thousands of dollars from private…

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