Many think Trudeau can be bought



It’s comforting to know that as 2016 comes to a close, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not being influenced — not even a teeny, tiny bit — by private, fund-raising soirees with Chinese billionaires and other executives lobbying his government for stuff they want.

As Trudeau told The Canadian Press Monday, while he does get lobbied at these cash-for-access events, that’s no different than Canadians lobbying him on all sorts of issues, free of charge, as he goes about his daily prime ministerial duties.

We can rest assured, Trudeau added, that when political donors to the Liberals ask him for something, he treats the request no differently than he would that of any average Joe or Jane.

After all, Trudeau noted, he only makes decisions based on what’s right for Canadians and you’d have to be a cynic to think otherwise.

Trudeau ally, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, said the same thing in the face of reports her cabinet ministers were assigned political fundraising quotas, to be obtained from businesses and unions affected by their decisions at private, fund-raising soirees.

That is, until her Liberal government’s cash-for-access controversy got so hot that Wynne has now promised fundraising reforms.

Since we have Trudeau’s word neither he nor his cabinet ministers are influenced by political donations, it seems almost churlish to note that a Nanos-Globe and Mail poll released Monday shows 62% of Canadians surveyed don’t approve of business people paying $1,500 per ticket for Liberal fundraisers.

This for a chance to lobby — unsuccessfully, insists the prime minister — him or his ministers.

Despite that, the poll found 48% of Canadians surveyed believe Trudeau could be influenced by such donations, with 46% saying he couldn’t be.

To be fair, political fundraising is legal and all governing parties trade access for cash, as does the opposition, although not as successfully because they don’t have power.

Overall, at year’s end, Trudeau’s government remains popular with Canadians — albeit down somewhat from its long, post-election honeymoon.

This despite such gaffes as Trudeau recently speaking in glowing terms about his late father’s pal, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who imprisoned and executed thousands of men, women and children.

Despite that, Trudeau’s statement commemorating Castro’s death at 90 read in part: “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people, who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”

That prompted widespread mockery of the PM on Twitter at #TrudeauEulogies, such as by “Deplorable Michael,” who opined: “Osama Bin Laden was certainly a controversial figure, but his contribution to airport security is unparalleled.”

And on that note, 2017 can’t come fast enough.

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