LILLEY: Trudeau and Johnston bragged about being friends for years

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Were Justin Trudeau and David Johnston telling the truth about their friendship this week or were they telling the truth in 2010, 2016 or 2017?

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The prime minister and former governor general have gone from playing up how close they are to now saying claims of friendship are exaggerated.

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So, what is the real story?

As Blacklock’s Reporter has shown, back in 2010 Trudeau told CBC Radio that Johnston was a great dinner companion.

“We had great conversations around dinner tables around all sorts of things,” Trudeau said at the time.

That same CBC report, done as Johnston was first being appointed Governor General, said that the Trudeau and Johnston families had vacationed together.

“Pierre Trudeau and Johnston were friends. The families often vacationed together, the three Trudeau boys and five Johnston girls,” CBC reporter James Fitz-Morris reported at the time.

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Fitz-Morris now works as director of communications for Helena Jacek, the minister for Public Services and Procurement. He told Blacklock’s this week that he remembers the report and remembers having extensive conversations with Johnston at the time.

In a 2016 interview with CTV, Johnston told the story of the Trudeau and Johnston families skiing together back when he was friends with Pierre Trudeau and the current prime minister was just a boy.

“His three boys were the same age as our five daughters, so we were kind of a ski party from time to time at Mont Tremblant,” Johnston said.

Johnston described how his grandchildren and the prime minister’s children played together at Rideau Hall after Trudeau was elected and moved onto the grounds, living in Rideau Cottage. He said that his wife would make cookies for all the children, how they had grown close.

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In September 2017 as Johnston was ending his term as Governor General, Trudeau paid tribute to him, calling him “a family friend,” and “a friend of my father,” before ending his tribute to Johnston and his wife Sharon by saying to both of them, “Thank you, my friends.”

Now, after years of playing up their friendship, both men are playing it down.

Were they telling the truth then or now? Because it can’t be both.

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These aren’t the only connections between those investigating and Trudeau’s orbit.

Sheila R. Block, the lawyer acting as general counsel for Johnston’s office while investigating China, is a major Liberal Party donor, giving as recently as last fall.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci, who was hired by Johnston to clear him of having a conflict of interest, was part of the Trudeau Foundation, just like Johnston. He works at the same law firm as Block and has been used in the past to write reports clearing police back when Trudeau cabinet minister Bill Blair was heading up the Toronto Police Service.

Finally, Moris Rosenberg, who wrote the report for the government saying there was no foreign interference to change the election outcome. He’s the former president and CEO of the Trudeau Foundation — he facilitated the big donation from Beijing.

We are a country of almost 40 million people yet every single person looking into allegations that China interfered in Canada’s elections has a connection back to Justin Trudeau in one way or another and they all arrive at the same conclusions, nothing to see here.

Isn’t this proof we need an independent public inquiry?

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