MPs vote to open House probe into China’s alleged targeting of Michael Chong – National

The House of Commons voted unanimously on Wednesday to open a parliamentary committee inquiry into allegations of a campaign of intimidation by the Chinese government against Conservative MP Michael Chung and other lawmakers.

The issue will now be taken up by the House Standing Committee on Procedure and Affairs, which is already considering the larger issue of foreign interference in Canada, including the recent federal elections.

Members of the House of Representatives applauded as Chung voted in favor of the privilege motion he submitted on Monday.

Canada this week expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei over a newly released 2021 report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS). The report alleges that Toronto consular officials attempted to intimidate Mr Chung and his relatives in Hong Kong over lawmakers’ criticisms of China’s humanity. rights record.

Other lawmakers have been similarly targeted for their support for a February 2021 vote denouncing China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority. The names of these lawmakers have not been released.

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China responded by expelling Canadian diplomats from Shanghai, the Liberal Party warned the move could trigger economic retaliation, and industry is gearing up for a counterattack.

The motion passed Wednesday specifically calls on a parliamentary committee to reconsider Cho’s alleged “intimidation campaign” against Chong and other Canadian lawmakers.

NDP foreign affairs analyst Heather McPherson said the commission hopes to hear intelligence experts and discrete groups who feel they are being targeted by foreign governments.

“We need to hear from affected communities in Canada,” she says.

“It is very important that we are cautious and consider how we act so that national security is not jeopardized and we get the answers we need.”

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The Liberal Party government faces further questions about when it first became aware of China’s alleged campaign against Mr. Chung.

During a question-and-answer session last Thursday, Conservative MPs said from the Prime Minister’s current National Security Advisor, Jody Thomas, that the CSIS will conduct a July 20, 2021 intelligence assessment between the Privy Council Office’s National Security Advisor and the Privy Council. He said he was informed that he had sent it to the national security adviser. to “relevant departments”.

But Global News reported Tuesday that none of the three advisers who worked for the firm in 2021 remember receiving the report in question.

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Chong did not respond to questions about recent clarifications received from Thomas.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said he first learned about the allegations in the media.

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“I shared the best information I had at the time,” Chung told reporters after Chung told the House of Commons last week that the report had been delivered to the Privy Council Office and his national security adviser. Stated.

Since then, Prime Minister Trudeau has instructed CSIS to report any threats against officials or their families to the government, regardless of whether they can be dealt with.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s special rapporteur, David Johnston, will report by May 23 “provisional recommendations on the adequacy of additional mechanisms and transparent processes” to eliminate foreign interference in Canada. .

He plans to release a full report by October.

— with files from Canadian news outlets

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

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