Chinese interference, Dong (in tears) leaves the Liberals
TORONTO – Han Dong has thrown in the towel. The deputy of Chinese origin who fell into the storm of “interference” announced his resignation from the Liberals, today, in tears (in the pic above): he will therefore sit in the House of Commons as an independent deputy. “I will continue to serve the residents of Don Valley North (in Toronto, where he was elected, ed.) as an independent member of this House. I am taking these extraordinary steps because sitting on the government caucus is a privilege and my presence could be seen as a conflict” Dong said, adding that he will work to clear his name in the meantime.
Citing unnamed “national security sources”, Global News reported that Dong told a senior Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that China would have to delay the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians who had been imprisoned in China from 2018 to 2021, to avoid benefiting the Conservative Party. Dong admitted he spoke to the Chinese official to discuss the two Michaels, but denied allegations that he pushed to delay their release. And again, in the House, he assured MPs that he had done “nothing to cause any harm” to the two Michaels and “worked hard to defend their interests”.
Last month, Global News also reported that Dong was “preferred” by Beijing over another liberal Chinese Canadian and that he was a “knowing affiliate” of Chinese interference networks. “Media reports have cited unverified, anonymous sources attacking my reputation and questioning my loyalty to Canada. Let me be clear, the reporting is false. And I will defend myself against these absolutely false claims” Dong said. And then he got emotional when he started talking about his family. “The truth will protect us” he said. At the end, Dong received the applause of some liberal MPs present in the hall.
Speaking to CTV in the Chamber lobby, some Liberal MPs said it had been “a difficult evening”. And someone broke a spear for Dong. “I am hopeful that when the truth is revealed and all of this is over, we will have a better understanding of what happened. In the meantime, I respect Dong for the decision he made… I know he cares about our country” said Liberal Congressman Charles Sousa, who worked with Dong in the Ontario legislature (Dong was first elected at the federal level in 2018 and had previously been a provincial deputy).
Prior to Dong’s announcement, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre had tweeted that the allegations against him were “serious reports of actions that threaten the core of our Canadian democracy”.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh had called for Dong to be removed from the Liberal caucus pending an investigation into those “very serious allegations”.
Both leaders then reiterated their call for an independent public inquiry into foreign meddling in Canadian affairs, which has so far been denied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Dong is not the only politician implicated in allegations of foreign interference. And the question is transversal. Ontario Congressman Vincent Ke resigned from the Progressive Conservative caucus earlier this month after being accused, in an article also published by Global News, of being involved in Chinese interference networks, allegations Ke denied with firmness.
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