(NOTE FOURTH COMMENT ON PRC TRYING TO WORK WITHIN CANADIAN CONSERVATIVE PARTY.)
Further to this post,
it does seem that that the Chicoms took, er, active measures against certain candidates; but with the Two Michaels back in Canada one suspects that the current government will remain reluctant to prick the Dragon too openly as it tries to reconstruct relations with Beijing. From an article at the National Post:
There is growing evidence that for some voters, foreign matters played a key role, not due to personal preference, but foreign interference
Author of the article: Tasha Kheiriddin [more here]
…There is growing evidence that for some voters, foreign matters played a key role, not due to personal preference, but foreign interference. And that interference had a direct impact on votes, seat count, and the shape of the 44th Parliament.
It started on August 25, when Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu implied that Conservative leader Erin O’Toole preferred to advance the Conservatives’ “political interests” over our country’s relationship with China. Cong added that his country would oppose “hyping up issues related to China or smearing China.”
Suddenly, Chinese language social media platforms such as WeChat were rife with falsehoods smearing Conservative candidates, even suggesting that the party was planning to ban WeChat itself. Websites attacking Conservative candidates, including Kenny Chiu, Alice Wong and Bob Saroya sprang up. All three held ridings with a heavy concentration of Chinese-Canadian voters, and all three lost their seats to their Liberal opponents.
Why the animus? The Conservative platform included several get-tough measures on China, including barring Huawei from 5G networks, Magnitsky-style sanctions on Chinese rights violators and counselling universities not to partner with Chinese state-owned enterprises [see this post: “Wow! PM Trudeau’s Government Actually Acting vs PRC/PLA Infiltration of Canadian Universities–not so “Wow!” UPDATE“]. (In contrast, the Liberals made one lonely mention of fighting “illegal and unacceptable behaviour by authoritarian states,” by nations such as China, Iran and Russia.)
But it was also personal. In October 2020, O’Toole had taken Cong to task for comments the ambassador made about Canada granting asylum to Hong Kong dissidents. Cong had warned Canada against emboldening Hong Kong “criminals” and (irony of ironies) interfering in China’s internal affairs. “The Chinese ambassador has decided to engage in belligerent rhetoric unbecoming of his office” O’Toole said. “To be clear, this was a threat to the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong. And a barely veiled one at that.”
In Kenny Chiu’s case, the former MP had advanced a private member’s bill that would have set up a registry for agents of foreign governments. The law was modelled on Australian legislation and similar provisions in the United States [see the post linked to below after this quote]…
The only way to truly get to the bottom of what happened is a full investigation. The questions is whether the new Liberal government will have the political courage to demand one. As Canada celebrates the return of the two Michaels, it is easy to let the euphoria over their release bury the very real possibility that our election was compromised. That would be a grave mistake. Today, it’s China; tomorrow, who knows? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to stand up for democracy, the rule of law, and the rights of Canadians to choose their leaders.
Note this story from 2020 (we really must expel a whole bunch of people at the PRC’s consulates-general in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal whose influence/interference activities appear to be effectively out of control:
Steveston-Richmond East MP Kenny Chiu took offence at the consul-general of China in Vancouver, Tong Xiaoling, for targeting politicians who criticize the Chinese government’s actions in Hong Kong...
UPDATE: An excerpt from an opinion piece at the National Post:
The time has come to frame a serious, clear and coherent strategy toward China
Author of the article: Jonathan Berkshire Miller [more here]
Canada must also take actions at home, including a whole-of-government effort to combat disinformation, serious discussions toward creating a foreign agent registry and tightening rules against foreign influence, interference and the threat posed by state-owned or state-affiliated companies that want to invest in, or contribute to, strategic infrastructure. This, of course, includes banning Huawei and other Chinese carriers from contributing to Canada’s 5G network…
An earlier post on Australia:
Other relevant posts: