Tories Want to Know If Alleged Chinese Funding to Candidates Was Reported to Elections Canada

Conservative MPs asked during question period in the House of Commons Friday if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed Elections Canada after he was briefed by intelligence officers in January that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) covertly funded 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.

“The prime minister had a choice: He could report this illegal activity to Elections Canada so that they could investigate or he could cover it up. What choice did the prime minister make?” asked Conservative MP Michael Cooper on Nov. 18.

Trudeau is continuing his trip to Southeast Asia and wasn’t in the House to respond, nor was Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, but his parliamentary secretary Pam Damoff said the alleged Chinese funding of candidates “never ever compromised” Canada’s election process.

“This was determined by an independent panel of national security experts,” Damoff said. “Let’s remember the only ones that benefit from foreign interference are enemies of democracy.”

Damoff added that she’s “disappointed” in the Conservatives for continuing to ask questions about the alleged interference.

“The opposition seems not to recognize who is being attacked in these foreign interference [allegations],” she said. “It’s not this side of the house. It’s not that side of the house. It’s every single member in this house.”

Cooper responded by saying Trudeau “professes to be concerned about Beijing’s interference in our elections,” but has yet to confirm whether he informed the Elections Canada commissioner after learning of the Chinese candidate funding.

“What is the prime minister hiding?” he asked.

11 Candidates

This week, the Conservatives called on Trudeau to release the names of the candidates known to have received CCP funding two years ago.

“Are they members of the House of Commons? Are they candidates in the next federal election?” said Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong while speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Nov. 16.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said Trudeau should’ve launched an official investigation in January after learning of the allegations.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland responded by saying the federal government “understands that there are dictatorships in the world that are actively trying to undermine democracies.”

Freeland added that she has “no illusions” about the nature of authoritarian governments.

“Our national security agencies are actively monitoring the threat posed by these regimes,” she said.

The Global News report published Nov. 7 from which the Chinese interference allegations stem said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) didn’t confirm the party affiliations of the 11 CCP-funded candidates.

“Despite the government knowing about this for at least 10 months, no one has been expelled, no one has been criminally charged, and no action has been taken,” Chong said in the House on Nov. 14.

“When is the government going to take action to protect Canadians and protect Canadian democracy?”

Andrew Chen contributed to this report. 


Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.

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