Is the Canadian government withholding information to protect Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland's inappropriate relationship with the World Economic Forum?
I saw something breeze across my desk the other day. It was an order paper question posed by Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis.
Now for those of you who don't know, an order paper question is a tool that the opposition can use to actually get answers in the House of Commons, instead of the insufferable theatrics of question period, where everybody just bumps their chest and offers partisan talking points instead of facts, data and details.
So Lewis used this tool to compel the government to provide her information on how many communications Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has had with the World Economic Forum, because Freeland has what I would describe as a conflict of interest.
She sits on the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees. So who does she work for? The World Economic Forum? Or Canadians? What does she do when those interests compete? What side does she choose? I think we know the answer to that.
But I found this order paper response very interesting. Actually unbelievable. And I checked my theory about believability, and I'll show you that in a second. First, I want to show you why I went about checking my theory.
According to the documents returned by the finance ministry and Freeland’s office, she's only had four communications with the World Economic Forum in three years. How is it possible that someone who sits on the board of directors at the World Economic Forum would only have four communications, which includes letters and phone calls, in nearly four years, since we're already at the end of 2022?
According to the documents returned in response to the order paper, the first communication between Freeland and the World Economic Forum after 2019 took place on January 8, 2021.
1. A phone call inviting Freeland to speak at the World Economic Forum leadership panel two and a half weeks later.
2. A letter on November 1, 2021. Thanking Freeland for participating in the board of trustees meeting and inviting her to participate in the World Economic Forum in 2022, and alerting Ottawa that the president of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende, would be visiting Ottawa in early December 2021.
3. A letter on January 5, 2022, inviting Freeland to a high-level leadership panel at the 2022 virtual World Economic Forum.
4. An invitation on February 14, 2022, to a rescheduled World Economic Forum in May 2022 and a letter of invitation to the board of trustees meeting.
For communications in all, including letters and phone calls in nearly four years, though Freeland sits on the board of trustees at the World Economic Forum. Call me a skeptic.
And as it turns out, just this week, I got documents back on the very same issue.
I started comparing what Freeland represented to the House of Commons as her communications with the World Economic Forum, versus what her office gave me. And I've found one glaring difference.
Now my access information request was submitted in January, so I've been waiting for 11 months for these documents, but that also means that I won't have that February communication on my records.
But I went through and started cross-referencing and matching everything up.
I've got communications from January 8, 2021, about speaking at the World Economic Forum leadership panel. I've got communications from November 2021 inviting Freeland to participate in the board of trustees meeting. I've got January 5, 2022 communications about participating in a high-level panel at the Virtual World Economic Forum. It's signed by Klaus Schwab personally, and it has a very informal greeting, calling Freeland by her first name and not her role as deputy Prime Minister. Darn cozy.
But I've got something else that Freeland didn't tell the house of commons about.
I've got a December 18 communication from a redacted person from the World Economic Forum who is once again calling Freeland by her friendly first name. And it's an email about a young global leaders 2020 engagement survey that she needed to fill out.
I wonder why they redacted the sender's name, and I wonder why they didn't report this as a communications record to the House of Commons.
GUEST: Marc Morano from Climate Depot joins us after the break.