Chinese interference in Canada, also Singh wants an investigation. Han Dong: “False allegations”
TORONTO – He’s the “crutch” of Trudeau government, but obviously cannot support it on this: even the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh (in the pic above, from his Twitter profile – @theJagmeetSingh), is asking for the opening of a public inquiry into the (alleged) Chinese interference in the 2019 federal elections, thus joining the call of several high-profile officials.
Singh, whose party supports Trudeau’s Liberal minority government (otherwise Canada would return to vote), said on Monday that while his party accepts the outcome of the 2021 election, the serious allegations of foreign interference made in recent media reports need “a thorough, transparent and independent investigation”.
“When Canadians learn of possible foreign interference through leaked documents, faith in our democracy is put at risk,” Singh said. “The way to stop alleged Chinese interference is to refuse to keep their secrets for them. A fully independent and impartial public inquiry is the best way to clear up the shadows”.
As we wrote in our yesterday’s article, Richard Fadden, the former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and former national security adviser to Trudeau, said he saw no “compelling reason” not to hold an inquiry public on allegations of foreign interference. Fadden’s comments, in response to Mercedes Stephenson’s questions during “The West Block” on Global News, came after a recent Globe and Mail article claiming China implemented a “sophisticated strategy” in the 2021 election to defeat Conservative candidates and attempt to support Federal Liberals towards a minority government. The newspaper article follows a series of reports published in recent months by Global News which found and published several Canadian intelligence documents. Documents suggesting that intelligence officials had warned Trudeau that China would target Canada to interfere in federal elections and that the vast “China” campaign would include funding a clandestine network of at least eleven running federal candidates for the 2019 election.
Not only that: CSIS officials allegedly warned Trudeau more than a year before the 2019 federal election, letting him know that Chinese agents were “assisting Canadian candidates running for political office”.
Last Friday, Trudeau told reporters that the country must remain “vigilant” of foreign interference but when asked directly whether he would convene a public inquiry into foreign interference, Trudeau did not give a clear answer.
The Conservatives also renewed their request over the weekend by inviting Katie Telford, the prime minister’s chief of staff, to testify before the House of Commons committee which voted last week to expand its probe into allegations of foreign interference in elections of 2019 including also those of 2021.
Not only that: a former close confidant of Trudeau has joined the appeals. “Some form of in-depth and unbiased looking is needed here,” Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former secretary, told Global News. Butts, now a vice chairman of the Eurasia Group, said there are several ways the federal government could commission an impartial investigation: a public inquiry, a royal commission, a commission of inquiry. “We have many tools at our disposal” Butts said, adding that while recent reports have focused on Chinese political interference, the issue is broader.
Artur Wilczynski – a former senior official of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s electronic spy agency – echoed the call for an investigation. And so did a former head of the electoral office, speaking to The Globe and Mail last week: “The legitimacy of the government is at stake,” said Jean-Pierre Kingsley. “We need to find out what happened. I’m in favor of an independent investigation because that’s what will satisfy Canadians. It’s not a minor issue”.
Meanwhile, China has called the allegations of attempted interference “complete nonsense”.
For his part, the Liberal MP from Toronto in the storm over Chinese interference in Canadian federal elections, rejects what he calls “inaccurate and irresponsible” allegations that China helped him get elected in Canada.
“I strongly reject the insinuations in media reporting – wrote Han Dong (in the pic above, from his Twitter page – @handongontario) in a note posted on social networks, which we publish below – that allege I have played a role in offshore interference in these processes and will defend myself vigorously against such inaccurate and irresponsible claims. I will support all fact-based efforts from parlamentarians to investigate alleged offshore interference and if called upon look forward to refuting these anonymous and unverified allegations”, Han Dong wrote.
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