Trudeau Responds To Leaked CSIS Files Saying Beijing Interfered In 2021 Election To Support A Liberal Minority
Authored by Andrew Chen via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
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.
The Feb. 17 Globe and Mail article cited top-secret CSIS documents covering the period before and after the September 2021 election campaign which resulted in a minority Liberal government. That result was one of the goals of the interference, while Beijing also sought the defeat of Conservative MPs it deemed critical of the regime, the Globe reported.
Beijing’s desire for a second Liberal minority in Parliament was to ensure that Trudeau’s power would be kept curtailed, according to the CSIS documents.
“I have been saying for years, including on the floor of the House of Commons, that China is trying to interfere in our democracy, in the processes in our country, including during our elections. We are aware of this,” Trudeau told reporters on Feb. 17, hours after the Globe article was published.
“This is not a new phenomenon. This is something that countries around the world have been grappling with for a long time and Canada is no exception.”
Trudeau also insisted that the Canadian election process is intact.
“For the 2019, and for the 2021 elections, and for elections going forward, this government created a panel of top civil servants, who would lean on all the information provided to them by our security agencies like CSIS to ensure that interference by foreign actors does not affect the running or the outcomes of our elections,” he said.
“All Canadians can have total confidence that the outcomes of the 2019 and the 2021 elections were determined by Canadians and Canadians alone.”
The Globe report noted that the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force, established by the Trudeau government to monitor threats to federal elections, never raised the issue of foreign interference during the 2019 or 2021 campaigns.
This was further supported by Walied Soliman, who served as the Conservative party representative to SITE.
“I can confirm that after extensive security clearances and multiple meetings with our security establishment in Ottawa, these specific threats to our democracy were *never* raised, despite what is now clear evidence of tampering by China in the 2019 election,” Soliman wrote on Feb. 17 on Twitter in response to the Globe report.
“What’s worse: our party was seeing clear signs of tampering in ridings with substantial Chinese diasporas. We made the conscious decision to work through the Task Force and appropriate security channels. Our concerns were never taken seriously.”
When asked if the leaked documents signal a discomfort within CSIS about the government’s inaction, Trudeau said the agency needs to review its security.
“It’s certainly a sign that security within CSIS needs to be reviewed, and I am expecting CSIS to take the issue very seriously,” he said.
Following the publication of the Globe’s report, Bloc Quebecois and Conservative MPs weighed in on criticizing the Liberal government.
“Today the Globe & Mail reported that CSIS documents confirm “Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals,” Conservative MP Raquel Dancho wrote on Twitter.
“Parliament must investigate these reports thoroughly and transparently.”
The Epoch Times has not seen the original CSIS documents.
Beijing Interference Operation
According to the CSIS documents reported on by the Globe, 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.
“This will threaten the future of the voters’ children, as it will limit their education opportunities,” a Chinese Consulate official said, according to the CSIS documents as reported by the Globe.
“The Liberal Party of Canada is becoming the only party that the PRC can support,” the official added, according to the report.
Beijing’s interference tactics involved “pressuring its consulates to create strategies to leverage politically [active] Chinese community members and associations within Canadian society,” as well as using Canadian organizations to advocate on behalf of China, the article said.
The CSIS documents said former Chinese consul-general in Vancouver, Tong Xiaoling, had bragged in 2021 about how she helped defeat two Conservative MPs.
In early November 2021, CSIS reported, Tong discussed the defeat of a Vancouver-area Conservative, whom she described as a “vocal detractor” of the Chinese regime. The Globe said an unidentified national-security source said that the MP was Kenny Chiu, then Tory MP for Steveston–Richmond East, B.C.
When asked about Tong taking credit for the defeat of Conservative MPs, Trudeau said it’s not surprising.
“The fact that a Chinese diplomat would try to take credit for things that happened is not something that is unseen in diplomatic circles around the world,” he said.
“The fact is, the work that CSIS has done, including with our election integrity panel, headed by our top public servants, … will always ensure that any risks to our election or to the integrity of those elections get highlighted to Canadians.”
The CSIS documents also say that the Chinese Communist Party leadership in Beijing was “pressuring its consulates to create strategies to leverage politically [active] Chinese community members and associations within Canadian society.”
The regime uses Canadian organizations to act on its behalf “while obfuscating links to the People’s Republic of China,” the documents said, according to the Globe.
The documents also said people sympathetic to Beijing’s cause were encouraged to give campaign donations to candidates favoured by China, the Globe said. Political campaigns would then quietly return a portion of the contribution—“the difference between the original donation and the government’s refund”—to the donors, which is illegal, the report added.
The anonymous national-security source told the Globe that nine Liberal and two Conservative candidates were favoured by Beijing, and that the two Conservative candidates were viewed as friends of China.