Former governor general David Johnston yesterday said he was troubled by critics who questioned his integrity. Johnston absolved Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a former skiing companion, of any fault in handling allegations of illegal activity by Chinese agents.

“What I can say with respect to the allegations of an appearance of a conflict of interest, I took the trouble of seeking a legal opinion from a retired Supreme Court justice, Justice Frank Iacobucci,” said Johnston, 81. “He was very clear there is no conflict of interest.”

Johnston said over a lifetime of appointments “on none of those previous occasions has my impartiality or integrity ever been questioned. This is the first time it has happened,” he told reporters.

“Let me simply say that’s very troubling for me because this kind of baseless set of accusations diminishes trust in our public institutions and deters people who are publicly minded,” said Johnston.

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