Freeland dodges questions on latest WEF trip

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland attended the World Economic Forum from January 16 to January 19, 2024, ‘to advance Canadian economic interests.’ She did not divulge other Canadian attendees, what was discussed, or agreements that were struck.

Freeland dodges questions on latest WEF trip
CPAC / Youtube
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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland clarified pressing details regarding Canada’s delegation to the 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit.

On Wednesday, Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis asked Freeland for details on the size of Ottawa’s delegation and who else attended.

“As the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I attended from January 16 to January 19, 2024, to advance Canadian economic interests,” replied Freeland. She did not say what other Canadians attended, what discussions occurred, or what agreements were reached. 

Freeland’s itinerary for January 17 cited closed-door meetings with “business leaders and other participants.”

The Minister of Finance met with a variety of business leaders about opportunities for Canada, she claimed.

“I also participated in a panel entitled No Recovery without Trade and Investment,” Freeland said. Participants included Brian Moynihan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of America; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; and Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Trade.

This year's theme was on “rebuilding trust” as well as “transparency, consistency and accountability.”

“What was the total cost to the taxpayer, broken down by category of expense?” asked MP Lewis. Taxpayers received a bill for $12,170.73 for Freeland’s travel to Davos this year, according to a Government Travel Expenses Database.

The previous year, she spent $10,663.04 to attend the WEF Summit, also in Davos.

Lewis then inquired on the contents of those meetings and agreements struck at the Forum this year. Freeland did not respond to the question.

The Minister of Finance is formerly listed on the Forum’s board of trustees, who “act as guardians of its mission and values” and are its “highest-level governance body.”

When asked about what government resources were accessed for the minister’s incursion, she did not respond.

An earlier access filing with the Ministry of Global Affairs returned no records for her travel planning memos and flight records to Davos.

Rebel News attempted to turn over internal communications for the planning of Freeland's travel in January 2024 but to no avail. The Privy Council expects their potential release for October 2024—nine months from the date of filing and eight months beyond the 30-day statutory window for release.

Internal emails revealed the minister previously pressured Privy Council staffers to prepare briefing notes for a previous summit and other materials to further her role on the WEF Board of Directors.

They pushed back, arguing the minister works at the WEF in her personal capacity and not as a representative of Canada.

“DPM is a member of the Board of Trustees in her personal capacity, and if this is a meeting with respect to her role in the board, normally no one provides DPM support as it is a personal matter unrelated to her government role,” reads email correspondence.

One of the WEF duties included assistance with leading the weekly conference call normally led by then-WEF honcho Klaus Schwab.

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