Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to questions about a recent news report alleging that at least 11 federal candidates, whose party affiliations weren’t revealed, received funding from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 2019 federal election.
“State actors from around the world, whether it’s China or others, are continuing to play aggressive games with our institutions, with our democracies,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Laval, Quebec, on Nov. 7.
“We have taken significant measures to strengthen the integrity of our elections processes and our systems,” he said. “We will continue to invest in the fight against election interference—against foreign interference—of our democracies and institutions.”
The questions were related to a Global News report published earlier that day alleging that intelligence officials had warned Trudeau and several cabinet ministers, in a series of briefings and memos beginning in January, about CCP interference in Canada that can include “covert funding to influence election outcomes,” and also that at least 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election received CCP funding during their campaigns.
The report adds that according to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Chinese Consulate in Toronto covertly directed a large transfer of funds to a clandestine network of those candidates as well as many Beijing operatives working as their campaign staffers.
Global News said the funds were allegedly transferred through an Ontario provincial MPP and a federal election candidate staffer. Some, but not all, members of the network are “witting affiliates” of the CCP, the report said, based on the intelligence briefings.
The report also says the briefings alleged that a Toronto’s Chinese Consulate official directed a campaign staffer to control and monitor the meetings of the candidate the staffer was working for.
“The world is changing and sometimes in quite scary ways,” Trudeau said on Nov. 7. “And we need to make sure that those who are tasked with keeping us safe every single day are able to do that.”
In 2010, then-director of CSIS Richard Fadden told CBC News in an interview that there were “several municipal politicians in British Columbia” and ministers of the Crown “in at least two provinces … who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”
“We’re in fact a bit worried in a couple of provinces that we have an indication that there’s some political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries,” Fadden said.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, says in recent years there has been an “exponential expansion” of Chinese operations directly targeted at undermining Canadian democracy.
“PM [Trudeau] was briefed about this ‘vast campaign’ in January but remained silent,” Mulroney said in a Twitter post on Nov. 8. “Then in June he expanded the team devising his China strategy to include people as stubbornly naive about the PRC [People’s Republic of China] as he is. No doubt many promotions, bonuses at China’s consulate in Toronto.”
In his interview in 2010, Fadden also said Chinese authorities had organized demonstrations to protest Canadian government policies deemed harmful to the CCP.
“They have organized demonstrations against the Canadian government in respect to some of our policies concerning China. They’ve organized demonstrations to deal with what are called the five poisons: Taiwan, Falun Gong, and others,” he said.
Trudeau said during his Nov. 7 press conference that the federal government is “creating new tools” to support CSIS and other Canadian intelligence agencies in preventing foreign election interference.
“There are already significant laws and measures that our intelligence and security officials have to go against foreign actors operating on Canadian soil,” he said.
Experts have long warned about China’s interference efforts in Canadian elections. This issue was one of the main subjects explored in a recent House of Commons committee meeting.
Marcus Kolga, director of DisinfoWatch, told the House Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Nov. 3 that “in the weeks before the September 2021 election, we were alerted to Chinese state media narratives that directly targeted the Conservative Party and its leader Erin O’Toole.”
“Simultaneously, members of the Chinese-Canadian community brought to our attention similar narratives appearing on local Canadian Chinese-language media platforms and Chinese local media channel WeChat,” Kolga said.
He said the CCP-owned tabloid Global Times attacked O’Toole’s foreign policy platform in an article published Sept. 9, 2021.
“The Global Times article threatened Canadians that if they elected a Conservative government, Canadians should expect ‘a strong counter strike and Canada will be the one to suffer.'”
Australian scholar Clive Hamilton has said that Beijing’s election interference operations are most advanced in Canada.
The 2020 book he co-wrote, “Hidden Hand,” says the CCP’s “United Front” organizations, which are mandated by the Party to curb potential opposition groups inside China as well as increase the CCP’s influence abroad, “are increasingly following the advice laid out in 2010 by a CCP strategist—build ethnic Chinese-based political organizations, make political donations, support ethnic Chinese politicians, and deploy votes to swing close-run elections.”
Hamilton told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that Beijing’s United Front organizations seem to be more entrenched in Canada compared to peer countries.
Isaac Teo contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times