Conservative MP Michael Chong expressed disbelief Monday after learning the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) failed to inform him a Chinese diplomat targeted his family.
“While CSIS has briefed me about foreign interference threat activities, these briefings did not provide any information about specific threats to my family or me,” penned Chong in a letter concerning the May 1 Globe and Mail report on Chinese interference.
His comments follow reporting by the Globe, citing nine pages of a 2021 top-secret report from the CSIS Intelligence Assessment Branch and an unnamed national security source. Though the documents did not explicitly name Chong, the anonymous source said the MP was targeted.
According to the Globe, a Chinese Ministry of State Security officer wanted information on Chong’s relatives abroad to impose sanctions on them. They allegedly assigned the file to a People’s Republic of China (PRC) diplomat from Toronto.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented Sunday, stating he would investigate the Globe report that named Chong’s family as targets, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
In his statement, the Conservative MP cites Chinese diplomat Wei Zhao as responsible for orchestrating the intimidation campaign. “The government [did not] take action to expel [him],” he said, adding they should have declared Zhao persona non grata and expelled him from Canada.
“At a minimum, I would have expected my government to have a duty of care to inform me that my family was being targeted.”
According to Chong, many immigrants face similar intimidation. “The government’s ongoing failure to act leaves all Canadians vulnerable to the foreign interference threat activities of the PRC and other authoritarian states bent on undermining our democracy,” he said.
“My father was a Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong to Canada, and I have family in Hong Kong. My situation is not unique,” continued Chong. “Like many Canadians, I have family abroad, and the People’s Republic of China and other authoritarian states have used that fact to intimidate and coerce Canadians at home by threatening their family abroad.”
In the Commons, Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre questioned why the nine-page memo was never shown to the MP. “Why did you not expel this diplomat?” asked Poilievre. “It is absolutely unacceptable,” replied Trudeau.
“Stand up,” said Poilievre. “Stand up for once.” Trudeau did not reply.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives demanded an emergency debate on the intimidation faced by Chong’s family, according to immigration shadow Minister Tom Kmiec. “It was rejected by the Speaker and mocked by the Liberals in Parliament,” he said on social media.
“The Trudeau Liberals have known these top-secret reports for two years and did nothing. They didn’t inform [Chong], and they didn’t expel the offending Beijing diplomat tasked with intimidation,” continued Kmiec.
“One has to conclude there are political calculations at play here, and I think that’s appalling,” added Chong. “I think it suggests the Trudeau government will not protect Canadians from differing political viewpoints from the threat activities of authoritarian states. That has got to stop.”
“Every vote we take on behalf of constituents should be free of foreign meddling, and to do nothing is to invite more foreign interference,” said Kmiec.
Conservative MP Gérard Deltell told reporters he found the actions of Chinese agents disturbing. “A colleague has been attacked,” he said.
“How do you think the government should have acted?” asked a reporter. “Go to the Consulate and say, ‘Hey, you guys, get out,’” replied Deltell. “Get out of the country.”