Kenny Chiu, a former Conservative Member of Parliament from British Columbia, expressed his fear that Canada has become an “open market” for foreign governments to influence elections after being named in a newspaper report as the target of an alleged campaign by Chinese diplomats to defeat him. Chiu, who lost his seat of Steveston-Richmond East in the 2021 election, said he was not surprised by the report in the Globe and Mail, which cited Canadian intelligence documents and described alleged efforts to oust candidates seen as unfriendly to Beijing.
Chiu noted the lack of action from Ottawa on foreign interests operating in Canadian politics and expressed his “overwhelming emotion” as one of grave concern about Canada’s national security situation and the ability of “predatorial regimes” such as China, Russia and Iran to influence votes. He said the integrity of the political system is the cornerstone of the country and if it is not protected from foreign interference, it casts doubt on the democratic system.
The Globe and Mail report stated that Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents described Tong Xiaoling, then Chinese consul general in Vancouver, boasting about a strategy that led to the defeat of two Conservative MPs in 2021, whom she did not name. Chiu and then-Richmond Centre MP Alice Wong, also a Conservative, both lost their seats in 2021 after suffering large drops in vote share. An analysis from a federal research unit in September 2021 revealed that Chinese Communist Party accounts on Chinese-language social media were spreading a narrative that the Conservatives would drastically curtail ties with Beijing. Wong did not respond to requests for comment.