This week, a leaked document revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) briefed the federal government two years ago about a foreign influence operation targeting a Canadian MP and his family.
The Conservative MP, Michael Chong, represents the Ontario riding of Wellington-Halton Hills. He and his family in Hong Kong were the targets of an orchestrated intimidation campaign by a diplomat posted in Canada representing the Chinese government .
The reason for the campaign was Chong's criticism of Beijing's human rights record- particularly his motion calling on the Canadian government to recognize a genocide was being carried out by the Chinese communist government against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.
Despite the shock of a foreign government targeting a Canadian MP and his family, the Canadian government did nothing about it. Chong was not previously notified of the intimidation campaign, nor was the diplomat representing the Chinese government expelled.
When questions arose in the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his public safety minister refused to admit when they became aware of the situation and what they did about it. On Tuesday, both the prime minister and the minister claimed they were unaware of the situation until it was raised in the media.
This raises the question of why they did not simply say so on Monday when the questions first arose and what action Trudeau will take in response to this latest information.
The report is the latest in a series of leaks from CSIS indicating interference in Canadian democracy by operatives related to the Chinese government. Those include reports of Chinese state-run police stations in several Canadian cities, a questionable Chinese government donation to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, its meddling in various ridings in the last election and a former Liberal MP —now sitting as an independent MP—raising concerns.
Despite these mounting concerns, the prime minister continues to avoid answering what he knew and when or denies having knowledge of such actions and events.
My question this week:
Are you concerned about growing interference in our Canadian democratic institutions?
I am interested in hearing what you think. Please let me know at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.