Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to a news report about leaked Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) documents detailing how China used a strategy to interfere in the 2021 federal election in order to return the Liberals to office. According to the Feb. 17 Globe and Mail article, the documents cover the period before and after the September 2021 election campaign which resulted in a minority Liberal government. Beijing sought the defeat of Conservative MPs it deemed critical of the regime, the Globe reported, and wanted a second Liberal minority in Parliament in order to ensure that Trudeau’s power would be kept curtailed.
When asked about the leaked documents, Trudeau told reporters on Feb. 17 that Canada is “no exception” to foreign interference in elections. He also said that the Canadian election process is intact, and that a panel of top civil servants was created to monitor threats to federal elections and ensure that interference by foreign actors does not affect the running or the outcomes of elections.
Walied Soliman, who served as the Conservative party representative to the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force, wrote on Twitter in response to the Globe report that the specific threats to democracy were “never” raised, despite evidence of tampering by China in the 2019 election. When asked about this, Trudeau said that CSIS needs to review its security.
The CSIS documents reported on by the Globe say that Beijing instructed its diplomats and other proxies—including some Chinese-language media—to propagate the idea that Conservative MPs were too critical of China, and that, once elected, they would follow the lead of former U.S. President Donald Trump and ban Chinese students from certain universities or education programs. The documents also said people sympathetic to Beijing’s cause were encouraged to give campaign donations to candidates favoured by China, and that the Chinese Communist Party leadership was pressuring its consulates to create strategies to leverage politically active Chinese community members and associations within Canadian society.
Following the publication of the Globe’s report, Bloc Quebecois and Conservative MPs weighed in on criticizing the Liberal government. The Epoch Times has not seen the original CSIS documents.
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