OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – A Toronto lawyer who helped Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “special rapporteur” and close family “friend” David Johnston investigate Chinese election interference has refused to comment on her known ties to the Liberal Party.
The name of the lawyer was revealed after the advocacy group, Democracy Watch, filed an ethics complaint against the lawyer, who was shown to be Sheila Block of Torys LLP.
In his report issued Tuesday, Johnston concluded that no public inquiry was needed to investigate alleged Communist Chinese Party (CCP) election meddling because the matter could involve divulging state secrets.
He also noted in his report that he had retained “Sheila Block of Torys LLP to assist me in obtaining, reviewing and analyzing the materials that I expected to receive as well as assisting with interviews.”
Block is listed as a partner of Torys LLP, and of note was named to the Order of Canada last year.
The group Democracy Watch found Elections Canada filings that showed a person named Sheila Block of Toronto was a regular donor to the Liberal Party of Canada. Block made a total donation of $7,593 from 2006 to last October 27.
When Block was asked questions about her ties to the Liberal Party, she did not answer.
As for Democracy Watch, it said in a press release Wednesday that it is a “violation of the Conflict of Interest Act to participate in any decision or action when there is an opportunity to further your own interests or the interests of a friend.”
“Both Justin Trudeau and David Johnston are covered by the Act,” it added.
“No one should call Mr. Johnston the “Independent Special Rapporteur” because he is not independent in any way from Prime Minister Trudeau – he was chosen by Trudeau; is an old family friend of Trudeau; serves at his pleasure; has no job security and has no powers under any statute or regulation to investigate anything.”
The House of Commons affairs committee met yesterday to go over Johnston’s report. On March 30, the committee voted to ask Johnston “appear alone before the committee” for questioning.
Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre told reporters on Wednesday that Canadians are not happy with Johnston’s report.
“This is a tiny club of Trudeau insiders who got rich and powerful by making everyone else poorer and weaker,” Poilievre said.
“They’re better off, everyone else is worse off,” he added, saying, “They protect themselves while no one in the government protects Canadians.”
In Johnston’s report, he wrote that the media reports alleging CCP election meddling in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections sometimes gave a “false” picture of what was going on.
Trudeau appointed Johnston as an “independent special rapporteur” to investigate the allegations that China was meddling in Canada’s elections in March.
The PM made the appointment under mounting pressure to investigate the alleged CCP interference and said at the time he would appoint the “rapporteur” in lieu of a public inquiry that MPs from all opposition parties had requested.
Trudeau referred to Johnston as a close family ‘friend’ multiple times
Johnston is a known “family friend” of the Trudeaus.
He served as Governor-General, the British monarchy’s representative, from 2010 to 2017. Although he was appointed by former Conservative Party of Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Johnston has longstanding ties to Trudeau and his family.
In fact, when Johnston stepped down in 2017 as Governor General, Trudeau referred to him as a “family friend.”
Johnston had also recalled fondly his close relationship with the Trudeau family in media interviews before he was appointed “special rapporteur.”
In a 2010 radio interview, Trudeau described Johnston as a frequent dinner companion.
“We had great conversations around dinner tables around all sorts of things,” Trudeau told CBC Radio after Johnston was appointed as governor-general in 2010.
“I always respected him as a man who was very personable, very real and very, very smart.”
Earlier this week, Johnston claimed his “so-called friendship” with Trudeau was trivial, despite evidence to the contrary.
Of note is that Johnston was a close friend of Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
CBC reporter James Fitz-Morris, who interviewed Johnston and Justin Trudeau, said, “Pierre Trudeau and Johnston were friends.”
“The families often vacationed together, the three Trudeau boys and five Johnston girls,” he added.
Johnston was listed as a member of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, whose entire board of directors and CEO and president resigned last month after a report surfaced detailing how the non-profit group received a $200,000 donation that was alleged to be connected to the CCP.
After the scandal broke, his name disappeared from its website.