Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre praised the “courageous whistleblowers” in Canada’s security apparatus for leaking top-secret documents on China’s interference in the 2021 federal election, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “covering up” the authoritarian regime’s meddling.
The Globe and Mail reported on the leaked documents on Feb. 17, which stated Beijing had mobilized its consulates to influence Chinese community members and organizations to help achieve two goals: the re-election of a minority Liberal government and the defeat of Conservative candidates who have been vocal against the Chinese communist regime.
The Globe said the CSIS documents were shared with Canada’s allies in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance: Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as French and German spy services.
At a press conference in Calgary on Feb. 17, Poilievre questioned Trudeau’s statement last November that he was never briefed by intelligence officials about federal candidates receiving money from China. The comment was in response to a Global News report alleging that Trudeau was briefed by security officials about covert funding provided by China to 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.
Poilievre claimed that Trudeau covered up information of the Chinese interference.
“Justin Trudeau knew about this interference and he covered it up because he benefited from it,” he said. “He is perfectly happy to let a foreign authoritarian government interfere in our elections as long as they’re helping him. And according to the Globe and Mail story today, this foreign authoritarian government wanted to see Justin Trudeau as prime minister because they knew that he would work for their interests rather than Canada’s interest.”
CSIS also reported in November 2021 about a Chinese consulate official’s remarks on defeating a Vancouver-area Conservative candidate. The official said Beijing sought to defeat Conservative MPs who are critical of the communist regime.
Trudeau defended his government’s efforts to combat foreign interference, saying it comes as no surprise. Several Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs raised the issue in Parliament on Feb. 17, while others took to social media to criticize the Liberal government’s lack of action and transparency on Chinese interference on Canadian soil.