New Mulroney Institute is bankrolled by billionaires steeped in scandal

Ex-PM raised part of funds for N.S. university site from businessmen tied to bribery schemes, tax havens

By Zach Dubinsky,

A new $60-million university institute in Nova Scotia celebrating former prime minister Brian Mulroney — and being built with money he personally solicited — got a good chunk of that financing from donors embroiled in international controversy, a joint investigation by the Toronto Star, CBC/Radio-Canada and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found.

From a Jordanian-born metals magnate implicated in aluminum-industry kickbacks, to a Syrian-British entrepreneur who helped broker a massive U.K. arms deal mired in corruption allegations, to one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks with ties to Russia, a number of the power players bankrolling the Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University have checkered resumés.

A senior St. FX professor called the revelations “deeply troubling.”

“It really is at odds with the purported mission of the university,” said Peter McInnis, chair of the university’s history department and a former head of the faculty association.

The Mulroney Institute, a venue for undergraduate studies in public policy, was announced last year to great fanfare in Antigonish, N.S.

The town 160 kilometres northeast of Halifax is dominated by its 5,000-student university, and St FX president Kent MacDonald called the new institute “the most transformative project” in the history of the school. Mulroney, at his alma mater, said it was a “high honour” to be involved.

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