Grace Foundation never authorized letter to Trudeau

Julian Wolfe
June 21st, 2013

The Grace Foundation has released a statement amid a week that has left them “deeply distressed.” The Foundation said it didn’t authorize any letter to Trudeau, just days after controversy broke because of a letter released to the PMO from board member Susan Buck that said Trudeau’s event last year was a “huge disappointment and financial loss for our organization” and deep Conservative ties that were easily exposed.

In a written statement, Foundation chair Ian Webster said no letter was authorised and board members “are deeply distressed about many statements made from various persons,” but are “most concerned” over statements Conservative MP for Fundy-Royal Rob Moore made this week – we note Rob Moore is linked to board member Judith Baxter.

Webster said “there was never any intention for this .. to become a political topic of discussion on the floor of the House of Commons” and furthermore “did not authorize any member or agent to approach the Honourable Member for Fundy-Royal or any political person on this matter.”

Webster confirms a “private letter” was sent to Speakers Spotlight after they learned of Trudeau’s hefty speaking fees, but when they got no response, “it was agreed at the May board meeting that no further follow-up would be necessary.”

Moore, however, had a different take. He told St John’s CSHJ radio, “I was asked if I would try to exert pressure on Mr. Trudeau,”

Asked by whom, he said: “Asked by members of the Grace Foundation.”

Moore didn’t comment today on the statement, saying he hadn’t read it.

In essence, this political stunt was manoeuvred by the PMO and the PMO alone. This shouldn’t be a big surprise to many, as we’ve seen the pieces fall together the past few days. If anything, this is a confirmation that a desperate Conservative hierarchy used a link in the Grace Foundation to create a distraction that has only made them look worse – especially since it was found a Conservative Senator recently did the same.

Judith Baxter should step forward and clear the air. Did she go to Rob Moore? Did her husband go to Rob Moore? Did Rob Moore approach her or her husband?

For an organization that is allegedly dissatisfied with Trudeau’s service, isn’t it ironic they still have that 2012 post that highlighted their evening?

“Guest speaker Justin Trudeau spoke passionately about our roles and responsibilities as Canadians in the global community, challenging each individual to consider his or her contribution toward positive change,” the posting says.

“Audience members agree it was an evening to remember.”

NDP Ethics critic Charlie Angus blasted the Conservatives for wasting a political opportunity on Tuesday.

“You had a political gift. It was gift-wrapped for you. This was the easiest thing in the world and just out of sheer stupidity, blockheadedness and spite you’re blowing it.

The Conservatives are starting to sound ridiculous on this. The story of Mr. Trudeau’s charging outrageous fees to schools spoke for itself. Just leave it at that.”

Charlie Angus, NDP Ethics Critic, To the Conservatives

What do you think of the revelation that the Grace Foundation never formally approved a letter asking for Trudeau’s refund? How has this scandal effected the way you see the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP?

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