Canadian Investigation Reveals China Interfered in Elections

Canada’s domestic intelligence agency reportedly warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2023 that China had interfered in the country’s 2019 and 2021 elections, CNBC reported.

In an April 8 hearing, a commission set up by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate possible foreign interference in Canadian elections was shown an excerpt from a February 2023 briefing from Canada’s Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) that revealed that the service was aware that China “clandestinely and deceptively interfered” in the last two elections.

According to the briefing excerpt, in both the 2019 and 2021 elections, the foreign interference was “pragmatic” and primarily focused on candidates it perceived as either pro-China or neutral on issues of interest to Beijing.

The CBC reported that the briefing document alleged that at least 11 candidates from multiple parties were implicated in China’s election interference

The CSIS assessment determined that foreign actors were successful in interfering in Canada’s elections due to the limited political or legal consequences of doing so.

Conservative Erin O’Toole, who led the party in the 2021 election, estimated that interference from China cost the party as many as nine seats.

Conservatives took a hard line on China during the 2021 election, campaigning on a platform to ban Chinese-based Huawei from Canada’s 5G network and condemn Beijing for its treatment of the Uyghurs.

A lawmaker from Canada’s far-left New Democrats party told the commission that after she started criticizing Beijing’s policy on Hong Kong, she was no longer invited to events hosted by members of Canada’s influential Chinese community.

In 2023, a Conservative MP with family in Hong Kong became the target of an online disinformation campaign that Canadian officials said was likely coordinated by Beijing.

Canada has about 1.7 million residents of Chinese descent.

China has denied that it interfered with Canada’s elections.