The chair of the Trudeau Foundation yesterday testified he never knew a portion of the charity’s $125 million taxpayer endowment was used to buy shares in Chinese corporations. Edward Johnson said he was unaware of the stock purchases until a member of the board objected.

“We told our financial managers to get rid of them,” Johnson testified at the Commons public accounts committee. “Normally we don’t really know what’s part of the portfolio.”

Parliament in 2002 awarded the Foundation a $125 million endowment. Chair Johnson said as late as two years ago the Foundation had stock holdings in China despite policies on ethical investment.

“We have policies including environmental policies, social policies and governance policies and we describe the policies to our managers,” said Johnson. “We invest in companies that conform with these policies and we meet with our managers to make sure they are compliant.”

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