The Han Dong controversy took a turn for the worse after a Parliamentary committee said no to investigating his Liberal Party records.
On November 28, the Liberal Party refused to surrender “all documents” concerning his 2019 nomination following a House Affairs Committee vote in their favour.
CSIS surveilled the MP as early as June 2019, months before his election to Parliament. They also named him in a memo distributed to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
Dong to date has not been cross-examined by any parliamentary committee, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
On June 6, the committee learned of “strange practices” at his Liberal nomination meeting that aroused further suspicion into the Greater Toronto Area MP.
“With respect to the nomination meeting, there clearly were strange practices, unusual practices going on,” testified David Johnston, special rapporteur on Chinese interference.
“The irregularities thing had to do with the nomination meetings and busing in of people and students,” he said.
“Did you ask if the Prime Minister knew about what those irregularities were?” asked New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan. Johnston replied: “We did ask the Prime Minister about the nomination of Mr. Dong.”
“My question is whether the Prime Minister knew about what those irregularities were?” she asked. “I believe the Prime Minister was aware there was some question about the actual nomination and the busing in of people, etcetera,” he replied.
While the special rapporteur could not conclude whether Chinese agents were responsible, he confirmed that Dong engaged in dialogue with the Toronto Consul on multiple occasions.
According to the verified security sources, Dong, who remains at the centre of Chinese influence allegations, privately advised a senior Chinese diplomat not to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in February 2021.
In an April 21 filing in Ontario Superior Court, Dong admitted to at least 12 phone calls with the Chinese Ambassador in Ottawa and Consul in Toronto but did not explain the nature of those calls.
Both sources alleged he told Han Tao, China's consul general in Toronto, that releasing the two Michaels would benefit the Conservatives in the polls.
Dong confirmed he discussed the matter with Consul General Han but denied he advised Beijing to delay releasing Kovrig and Spavor from prison.
He subsequently left the Liberal caucus March 22 to contest the allegations.
“Do you dispute that the Chinese Consul helped in your nomination?” asked a reporter the day prior. “I’ve never been offered, nor would I accept any help from a foreign nation,” replied Dong.
“That’s different from my question,” they said. “My question is, did you know that the Chinese Consulate in Toronto or the Chinese Embassy here or any Chinese proxy was aiding in any way in your nomination?”
“I speak for myself,” replied Dong. “I was not aware of any help coming from a representative of another country. I was never offered, nor would I accept.”
The disgruntled MP has since filed a libel suit against Global News after the television network called him a “witting affiliate in China’s election interference networks.”
The MP has yet to disclose details on his ongoing litigation since going public in April.
"I can't talk about the litigation because it's before the court, but what I can say is it's in the discovery phase, and I look forward to clearing my name once and for all during the trial," he said.
Without further clarification, Dong told the CBC in September that he met with Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc on a potential return to the party.
During their conversation, LeBlanc informed the MP he would speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and continue to review the situation internally.
In March, Trudeau refused to openly discuss Chinese interference, implying the line of questioning was racist.
When asked about Dong specifically, he claimed the rise in anti-Asian racism linked to the pandemic and concerns being raised around people's loyalties.
"I want to make everyone understand fully: Han Dong is an outstanding team member, and suggestions that he is somehow not loyal to Canada should not be entertained," added Trudeau.