Trudeau Defends Liberal Fundraising Event Attended by Marijuana Lobbyists

Article by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted on Tuesday that a Liberal Party fundraiser breached no ethical rules even though the governing party refunded the ticket price that a marijuana lobby group paid to attend it.

Opposition MPs seized on a Globe and Mail report that two members of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association went to an April 28 cash-for-access fundraiser to lobby Bill Blair, who is steering the Prime Minister’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Liberal Party on Monday told The Globe it will return the money to individuals from the Cannabis Business Friendly Association, an organization that represents dispensary owners and which send members Abi Roach and John Liedtke to the $150 per ticket event.

“We do know one of the lobbyists [Ms. Roach] said she gets e-mails all the time from the Liberals asking her to come to these fundraisers,” interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose told the House of Commons’ Question Period. “How many times has the Liberal Party used the government’s marijuana point person to raise cash from marijuana lobbyists for the Liberal Party of Canada?”

Mr. Trudeau ducked the question and argued no ethical rules were violated: “The fact is the Liberal Party is always following all the rules and the values that Canadians expect in terms of openness, accountability and transparency.”

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