Erin O’Toole, the former leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, and a Hong Kong-born Canadian lawmaker both claimed that they were the targets of China’s voter suppression and misinformation campaigns during the 2021 election, citing information from Canada’s spy agency.
O’Toole told Parliament on Tuesday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) found multiple threats against him last week.
According to what he stated, “each of these threats were intended to discredit me, promote false narratives about my policies, and to severely obstruct my work as a member of Parliament and as leader of the official opposition.”
O’Toole emphasized that alleged misinformation occurred prior to the 2021 general election, which saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party government reelected. O’Toole is currently serving as an MP.
CSIS had also informed New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan that she was a target of a foreign interference campaign and “would continue to be a target,” she stated a day earlier.
“Emerging from this preparation it is more obvious to me than any other time that I won’t be scared, that I won’t be quieted in any capacity, whoever is attempting to come down on me in the manner they are attempting to make it happen, they won’t succeed,” Kwan said.
The legislator highlighted her activism connected with basic liberties in Hong Kong following Beijing’s burden of a Public safety Regulation on the semi-independent city and her help of issues connected with China’s Uyghur Muslim minority populace as motivations behind why she was focused on.
The allegations come during a period of growing concerns in Canada about Chinese influence, including through the operation of overseas police stations and the policing of speech in the country, which has a large community of people with Chinese heritage. The deterioration of ties between the two countries has been going on for years.
An accredited Chinese diplomat who was accused of participating in a harassment campaign against opposition lawmaker Michael Chong and his family was expelled from Canada earlier this month. A Canadian diplomat was expelled from China quickly in retaliation.
After Chong sponsored a motion to condemn China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority, the alleged harassment occurred. O’Toole stated on Tuesday that he believed Beijing intended to retaliate against him for, among other things, criticizing human rights abuses in the country and discouraging the use of Huawei technology in Canada’s 5G network.
O’Toole and Chong have both voiced their displeasure with Trudeau’s government for appearing to delay responding to such intelligence.
Later on Tuesday, Canadian Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino stated that CSIS had implemented reforms to enhance the flow of intelligence and had been “very proactive in engaging of federal parliamentarians.”
Mendicino stated that the government is establishing a foreign agent registry and a national coordinator to combat foreign interference.
China has denied previous allegations of political interference in Canada’s political system on multiple occasions.
Beijing accused Canadian politicians and the media of “fabricating false information” following the recent tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.
Relations between the two countries have already been severely strained in recent years, particularly since Beijing detained two Canadians in China in what is widely regarded as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese businesswoman Meng Wanzhou in 2018.
Although the two men, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, were released on the same day that Canada granted Meng permission to return to China in 2021, Beijing has repeatedly denied that their cases were political retaliation.
The tit-for-tat move is a new low in a deterioration of ties between the two countries that has been going on for years. It also comes at a time when Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned about Chinese influence, including public outcry over claims that China tried to interfere in Canada’s elections in 2019 and 2021.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at a regular briefing hours after Beijing said it would kick out Lalonde that China would “resolutely and forcefully respond” if the Canadian government “keeps acting recklessly” and that the Canadian media and some politicians were “fabricating false information.”
On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa that Beijing’s response would not “intimidate” Canada.
“We will make anything move is important to keep on safeguarding our majority rules government and show that we’re defending our qualities and our standards. Trudeau stated, “We are aware that there will be retaliation, but we will not be intimidated.”
Canada moved to remove Zhao on Monday, following mounting public tension on the Canadian government to answer disclosures the Canadian Security Knowledge Administration (CSIS) found a licensed Chinese negotiator in the nation had taken endeavors toward focusing on resistance legislator Michael Chong and family members who might be in China.
After Chong sponsored a motion to condemn China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority, the alleged targeting occurred. The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, was the first to report on the intelligence earlier this month.