MP Han Dong 'changes story' on alleged busing of foreign students to win nomination

MP Han Dong told the commission one day prior to his testimony that he suddenly recalled, thanks to prompting by his wife, a bus of foreign high school students speaking Mandarin coming to vote for him in his nomination.

MP Han Dong 'changes story' on alleged busing of foreign students to win nomination
Facebook/ Han Dong
Remove Ads

Independent MP Han Dong admitted on Tuesday that international Chinese students from out of town voted in his 2019 Liberal nomination. 

“I didn’t understand it as an irregularity,” Dong testified at the China inquiry. “To me, international students, I met them, canvassed [with] them, signed up, and they showed up to vote,” he added. 

“Why didn’t you tell the Commission about this earlier?” asked the Commission counsel. “I was reminded after,” replied Dong.

“Why did you tell us about it [on Monday]?” asked counsel. “I was having a conversation with my lawyer,” replied Dong.

A treasure trove of top-secret CSIS documents disclosed last year outlined that Beijing directed Chinese students to work as campaign volunteers. 

Additionally, the inquiry disclosed on Tuesday a confidential CSIS memo alleging the Chinese Consulate in Toronto bused foreign students to win the nomination for Dong.

“Some intelligence reporting indicated students were provided with falsified documents to allow them to vote despite not being residents of Don Valley North,” the memo reads. “The documents were provided by individuals associated with a known proxy agent.”

Although the member of Parliament dismissed the incident, his then-campaign manager questioned their voting eligibility, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Ted Lojko, Dong’s campaign manager, testified he was never told a busload of international Chinese students voted at the meeting. “Realistically unless they were permanent residents and had some form of ID, they would not be eligible to vote,” he said.

According to anonymous security sources, Chinese diplomats and their proxies worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered "hostile" towards China during the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. 

David Johnston’s First Report into election interference last May confirmed the “well-grounded suspicion” of further irregularities tied to Toronto’s Chinese Consul, whom Dong “maintains relationships.” On Tuesday, Dong acknowledged he frequently spoke with Counsel General Han Tao by telephone.

In an April 21 filing in Ontario Superior Court, the member of Parliament admitted to at least 12 phone calls with the Chinese Ambassador in Ottawa and Consul in Toronto. However, he did not explain the nature of those calls.

The 2019 Don Valley North Liberal nomination remains under investigation by the Elections Commissioner. 

Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, Stéphane Perrault warned the commissioner of ‘irregularities’ concerning the Toronto riding but did not elaborate further. Canadian Intelligence disclosed the tip last week.

“My understanding is you were informed by CSIS of a factual situation that could have involved foreign interference related to voting in the nomination contest in the riding of Don Valley North, Ontario. Is that correct?” asked Commission counsel last Thursday. “That is correct,” replied Perrault.

Lawyers for Dong did not question Perrault at the time, as he did not name their client in testimony.

The member of Parliament has represented the riding since 2019 but resigned from Liberal caucus on March 22, 2023, to contest allegations he advised China's consul general against releasing two Canadian diplomats known as the "two Michaels."

According to the secret memo, international students received veiled threats from the Consul, implying their student visas would be in jeopardy and their families would face dire consequences should they not support Dong.

The inquiry learned his campaign bused Chinese students from New Oriental International College Academy in Markham, Ontario, which is not located in Don Valley North.

The member of Parliament appeared to stumble in his testimony after failing to recall details of his 2019 nomination including the busing of New Oriental teenagers, reported Blacklock’s Reporter

“I forgot exactly,” he said. “Your memory at times seems a little weak,” replied Gib van Ert, counsel for Conservative MP Michael Chong.

“Do you accept [that] the People’s Republic of China is attempting to interfere in Canadian democracy?” asked van Ert. “I have seen reports about that. I personally haven’t seen any evidence of it,” replied Dong.

“Now I understand you do not believe there was any interference in your nomination contest, isn’t that right?” asked Chong’s counsel. “To the best of my knowledge, yes,” he replied.

Dong later testified that Canadians have the right to know if China helped him get elected.

However, Azam Ishmael, national director of the Liberal Party, testified he was satisfied there were no irregularities in Don Valley North. 

“People who ordinarily reside within the riding are allowed to vote in our nomination meetings,” said Ishmael. “The only thing that catches me as a bit peculiar is that it was organized by the school given it was a partisan political event.”

He said only party members over age 14 with some proof of residence are entitled to vote in a nomination meeting.

Last November 28, the governing party refused to surrender “all documents” concerning Dong’s nomination meeting after the House Affairs Committee rejected an investigation request.

The Liberal association in Don Valley North did not maintain any permanent record of delegates who attended the 2019 meeting, added Dong's campaign manager.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads