Ottawa, Ontario                                                                                                            March 28, 2023

Former GG Johnston’s Close Relationship with China

Much recent commentary about Johnston’s selection by Trudeau as a special rapporteur to review Chinese interference in Canadian elections, has dealt with Johnston’s close relationship with Prime Minister Trudeau.  Little mention has been made of Johnston’s close personal relationship, over many years, with communist China.

  • In 1980 Johnston prepared the ground work for the Canada – China University exchange program. The Liberal government subsequently was obliged to set strict guidelines for this program because of the theft of Canadian technology by exchange students. Despite these guidelines, Canadian universities and also Canadian corporations are continuing to work with Chinese graduate students and Chinese experts to develop intelligence technology, useful for China. Understandably, Canada was excluded in March 2023 from the military pact involving Australia, the UK and the US (referred to as AUKUS). This pact has excluded Canada because of uncertainty caused by its close association with China.
  • Johnston, when President of the University of Waterloo, oversaw the establishment of the Confucius Institutes, also established in several other Canadian universities. These Institutes are the scandal ridden arm of Chinese Communist propaganda and espionage in western countries.
  • In 2017 Johnston attended a conference on Science, Technology, & Innovation in China at the Chongqing University, at which he professed his profound admiration for China.
  • Johnston was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from three different Chinese universities. Three of Johnston’s children have attended Chinese universities.
  • On his retirement as Governor General, Johnston was provided a $10 million grant from the Trudeau government, which Johnston used to establish his own foundation, the Rideau Hall Foundation. It included on its board of directors, Paul Desmarais whose family holds extensive investments in China. Mr. Desmarais was the founder of the Canada – China Business Council. Another member of the board was Dominic Barton, who served as its advisor to several Chinese state owned enterprises, including the one involving the construction of the militarized islands in the South China Sea. Barton was subsequently appointed by Trudeau as Canada’s ambassador to China. Another director is John Montalbano, chief executive officer of the Royal Bank’s Global Asset Management arm, which manages Beijing’s global natural-resources acquisitions.

Not in Canada’s Best Interests

Johnston’s appointment as special rapporteur is not in Canada’s best interests. Johnston, an eastern Canada establishment man through and through, will not obtain the truth, but will instead protect the close personal ties with China held by both himself and the Trudeau government.

Trudeau must stop darting and dodging behind the curtain of Johnston’s role as special rapporteur.

Canadians are entitled to know with certainty that their elected representatives in Parliament are there because of public support, rather than due to Liberal – Chinese manipulation and financing. A public inquiry must be held.


Gwendolyn Landolt

National Vice-President and Legal Counsel

REAL Women of Canada

(905) 787-0348




Diane Watts


REAL Women of Canada

(613) 236-4001