China would have covertly funded eleven 2019 election candidates in Canada
TORONTO – Intelligence officials have warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that China has targeted Canada with a broad campaign of interference, which also includes funding a clandestine network of at least eleven federal candidates running for the 2019 election: the news was published today by Global News, with an article by investigative journalist Sam Cooper on the news agency’s website.
The allegations – delivered to the Prime Minister and several members of the government for the first time in January – included various Beijing’s efforts to promote its influence and, in turn, “subvert” the Canadian democratic process, sources said.
Based on recent information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), such efforts would include payments through intermediaries to candidates affiliated with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that would have to place its agents in Canadian MPs’ offices in order to verify policy, trying to co-opt and bribing former officials to gain influence in Ottawa and organizing aggressive campaigns to “punish” Canadian politicians whom the People’s Republic of China (PRC) sees as a threat to its interests.
CSIS told Global News that it could not answer some questions but confirmed that it has identified foreign interference from the PRC in Canada, which may include covert funding to influence election outcomes. The candidates in question must not have been identified but the electoral interference network pre-interference would include both Liberal and Conservative Party members.
Also according to what CSIS has confirmed, the Chinese Consulate in Toronto has directed a massive clandestine transfer of funds to a network of at least eleven federal election candidates and numerous Beijing agents who have worked as members of their campaign staff. Those funds would be transferred through an Ontario provincial MPP and the staff of a federal election candidate. Separate sources also claimed that a CCP group, acting as an intermediary, would have transferred about $ 250,000.
China conducts more foreign interference than any other Nation, and threats of interference to Canada increased in 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping elevated the CCP’s so-called networks of influence overseas.
Prime Minister Justinh Trudeau’s office did not answer questions from Global News directly and did not confirm (nor deny) whether or not Trudeau was informed of the alleged secret Chinese funding. Nor did he answer the need for stricter federal rules against foreign influence on Canadian politics. “Protecting the safety of Canadians is our top priority. Threats, harassment or intimidation of Canadian citizens are unacceptable and all allegations of interference are thoroughly investigated by our security agencies” the Prime Minister’s Office said, adding “as threats evolve, the methods used to address them must also evolve. This is why the Prime Minister has given the Minister of Public Security the mandate to improve collaboration between Canadian security agencies”.
Dan Stanton, a former CSIS officer who studies Chinese interference, told Global News that CSIS has benefited, since September 11, 2001, from modernized counter-terrorism laws that have allowed the service itself to mitigate terrorist planning and networks, but Canada’s espionage laws are stuck in the Cold War era.
In April 2021, a bill called for a register of foreign influences to be established, but it was never approved: Kenny Chiu, a Conservative MP who was later targeted by the CCP’s election interference network, wrote it. Chiu says his law would have forced anyone working for hostile regimes, such as Russia, Iran and China, to declare their interests and this transparency would have protected Canadian democracy. For this initiative, Chiu would have been persecuted by Chinese agents who allegedly slandered him as a racist in media reports in WeChat and in Mandarin. “Before the election, the Chinese-language media treated me at a distance and during the campaign, people closed the door on me” Chiu said.
Interference on Canadian soil would be orchestrated by the CCP’s powerful United Front Labor Department, which mobilizes large sectors of society overseas to achieve the goals of the Chinese Communist Party: United Front operations may indeed include politicians, media, businesses, student groups and communities and aim to consolidate support for the CCP’s policy and target critics of that policy. Several federal candidates in the 2019 elections met with China-based United Front officials, intelligence said, but did not identify those politicians. While the United Front is not a spy agency, its networks in Canada would facilitate interference operations.
The Chinese Consulate in Toronto and Chinese officials in Ottawa did not answered questions from Global News.
In the pic above, the Chinese Consulate in St. George Street, Toronto (photo from Google Maps)