Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing growing calls to launch an independent inquiry into recently surfaced leaks about how China allegedly influenced Canadian elections over the past several years.
The allegations which have been reported by various media outlets over the past few weeks range from direct donations to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation to China bussing out sympathetic supporters to specific candidates’ nomination meetings.
Trudeau has since cast shade on the claims, even suggesting that the allegations are rooted in anti-Asian racism.
True North has compiled all of the major claims about Chinese election interference from the past month below.
11 candidates targeted by Beijing in 2021
Early in February, the Globe and Mail reported that files from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) show evidence of a Chinese interference campaign in Canada targeting 11 largely Liberal candidates in the 2021 election.
The stated aim of the operation was to secure the return of a minority Liberal government while simultaneously working to prevent the victory of specific Conservative candidates that China had considered opponents to its goals.
The Chinese government was reportedly applying pressure on its consulates to devise plans aimed at utilizing politically-engaged members of the Chinese community and organizations to advance its interests, all while concealing any connections to Beijing.
China also saw Trudeau as the best representative in power for its interests but also wanted to limit his government’s capabilities due to its recent anti-China stances.
Liberal MP Han Dong’s nomination
According to CSIS sources and documents first reported by Global News, Liberal MP Han Dong received help from the Chinese consulate in Toronto during his nomination to be the Liberal candidate in 2019.
The consulate allegedly transported seniors and students to vote for Dong at a party meeting, with the intelligence agency urging senior officials in Prime Minister Trudeau’s office to rescind Dong’s nomination due to the suspicion of foreign influence.
Sources claim that the consulate arranged for two buses of Chinese Canadian seniors to support Dong at the nomination meeting, with his name written on their arms as a cue. Chinese international students were also allegedly sent to the meeting under threat from Beijing.
Dong denies the allegations and states that his nomination was legal and rule-abiding.
China’s $1 million donation
A report published by the Globe and Mail this week alleges that China attempted to influence Prime Minister Trudeau via a clandestine $1 million donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, named after the current PM’s father.
The outlet claims that CSIS eavesdropped on a conversation in 2014 between a political adviser to the Chinese government, Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin, and an official with China’s Canadian consulates, during which the topic of the 2015 Canadian election was discussed.
The Beijing-connected official allegedly urged Zhang to donate $1 million to the Trudeau Foundation with the promise of reimbursement from China.
Following Trudeau’s successful election in 2015, Zhang was at a Liberal Party fundraiser where the prime minister was invited as the guest of honour. The Trudeau Foundation later revealed it received a $1 million donation from Zhang in honour of Pierre Trudeau, with $200,000 of it going directly to the foundation.
The Prime Minister’s Office has claimed Trudeau was not aware of the donation.