Liberal MP Han Dong says he hasn’t verified Chinese interference allegations with PMO – National

Liberal MP Handong said Tuesday that he had contacted Canada’s security intelligence agency about allegations that he was part of China’s foreign interference network during the 2019 federal election.

But he also said he had not made a similar request to the prime minister’s office.Global News reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s senior aide was told by national security officials three weeks before voters were heading to the polls to vote. It is reported that he had been briefed on the allegations against Don.

Asked why he had not reached out to senior PMO officials to confirm allegations involving Trudeau’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas, Don said he had faith in his campaign.

“Because I know the truth,” he said when pressured by reporters outside the House of Commons on Tuesday. “I know my campaign, so I know the truth.”

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Liberals ignored CSIS warnings about 2019 candidates accused of Chinese interference probe: sources

He pointed to independent panel findings that the results of the 2019 and 2021 elections were neither affected nor compromised by foreign intervention attempts.

“That’s enough for me.”

Global News reported last month, three weeks before the 2019 federal elections, that national security officials gave an urgent confidential briefing to Trudeau’s senior aide, claiming that one of the candidates was part of China’s foreign interference network. It reportedly warned that

Sources said the candidate in question was Don, then a former MPP of Ontario, whom the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) began tracking in June of that year.

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Liberal MPs allegedly linked to Chinese interference: sources

The national security official also said Dong, now an incumbent lawmaker for re-election in 2021, is one of at least 11 candidates in the Toronto area who were allegedly backed by Beijing in the 2019 contest. claims. The service also believes Dong is an intentional affiliate of China’s election interference network, sources said.

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In late September, about 48 hours before the federal election deadline, CSIS asked Trudeau’s team to withdraw Dong’s candidacy, national security officials said.

According to sources, Don frequently called Chinese officials in Ontario and was “considered a close friend of the Toronto consulate.”

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Trudeau defends Handong amid report CSIS warns of foreign influence concerns

Don denied the allegations to Global News, even in an official statement three days after the article was published. He doubled down on those denials on Tuesday.

“I have never been offered nor will I accept foreign aid. I am Canadian,” he said.

Dong said he was “unaware” of any support being given to anyone else working on his campaign, or the campaign itself. He also spoke with some of his campaign staff who denied his knowledge of sabotage activities.

Pressed, he said, “to the best of my knowledge,” he categorically denied that his campaign received any support from the Chinese consulate in Toronto.

Scrutinizing voters is ‘not my job’

Global News sources said the CSIS was also concerned about the Liberal Party’s nomination process. According to sources, among the alleged cheating observed in the September 2019 contest was a Chinese student with a false address being forced into a horse riding track by bus to force him to vote in favor of Dong. , or were allegedly at risk of losing their student visas.

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According to sources, the October 2022 CSIS report included details about an investigation into Don’s nomination process at Don Valley North Riding.

“Two Chinese-Canadian seniors were brought in to endorse certain candidates during the party nomination ballot prior to the 2019 Canadian general election,” the report said. says.

The senior adds that he hid the name of the candidate he was told to vote for under his sleeve.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau backs Ontario MP amid interference allegations'

Prime Minister Trudeau backs Ontario MP amid allegations of interference

Asked about these specific allegations, Don said transportation for the elderly is a regular service offered by his campaign.

“My campaign provided transportation not only for Chinese seniors, but also for seniors,” he said, adding that these services were properly expensed and reported to the Canadian Electoral Commission. rice field.

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He added that “many young people” have come from all over the equestrian diaspora to support him and his candidacy.

“It’s not my job to check if they’re international students or not,” he said.

Dong said he had asked CSIS director David Vigneault for details of the allegations and had sent a letter to “confirm whether it was a leak from CSIS” and relayed Global News’ report. He said he had received confirmation that the letter had been received, but received no further reply.

“I never got a call from CSIS,” he said. “I have not been informed of any investigation by CSIS, RCMP, or Elections Canada regarding my nomination or election.”

He added that he has not contacted the PMO because he “cannot protect himself from unverified and anonymous sources.”

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Chinese-Canadian lawmakers included among ‘larger targets’ for foreign interference, Trudeau says

Global News has not confirmed CSIS’ claims in the original article.

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A global ongoing investigation over the past four months has revealed exclusive details about concerns over China’s attempts to interfere and influence Canadian elections. This included allegations from the Chinese Consulate in Toronto that the network had run out, purportedly aimed at supporting at least 11 of her candidacy in the Toronto area. Liberals and Conservatives in the 2019 contest.

These reports, along with reports from The Globe and Mail alleging attempts to interfere in the 2021 elections, provide Trudeau and the liberal government with information about when and how they knew about these activities, as well as their future prospects. We put a lot of pressure on you to detail how you are working to protect it. Elections from interference.

Government officials have insisted the interference does not undermine the overall integrity of these elections.

There are multiple investigations underway by lawmakers and national security agencies into the matter. Former Governor-General David Johnston has also been appointed as a special rapporteur to oversee the work and consider whether a public inquiry is necessary.

Dong said he supported measures currently being taken to investigate foreign interference, but declined to say whether he supported the idea of ​​an open inquiry.

— Using files from Global’s Sam Cooper and Alex Boutilier

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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