Champagne says he refinanced Chinese mortgages with a Canadian bank
With Canada-China tensions running high, minister said he moved the mortgages to avoid a 'distraction'
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said today he has repaid two mortgages with a Chinese state bank and refinanced them with a Canadian financial institution.
Champagne disclosed the development during testimony today before the House of Commons health committee, saying he decided to refinance the mortgages to avoid what he called "a distraction."
Earlier this month, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Champagne to explain how the mortgages with a Chinese state bank would not compromise his ability to handle Canada's tense current relations with the People's Republic. The story was first reported by The Globe and Mail.
Champagne said he disclosed the two mortgages to the ethics commissioner when he entered politics in 2015, that they were part of the public record, and that neither of the mortgages ever had any bearing on his job.
Before Champagne entered politics, he lived and worked in London and bought two apartments in 2009 and 2013, which he continues to own and rent. His office has said the London branch of the Bank of China, (UK) Ltd. was one of a limited number of lenders that would give mortgages to people living in Britain on temporary work visas, as Champagne was at the time.