Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to a news report about leaked Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) documents detailing how China used a strategy to interfere in the 2021 federal election in order to return the Liberals to office.
The Feb. 17 Globe and Mail article cited top-secret CSIS documents covering the period before and after the September 2021 election campaign which resulted in a minority Liberal government. That result was one of the goals of the interference, while Beijing also sought the defeat of Conservative MPs it deemed critical of the regime, the Globe reported.
Beijing’s desire for a second Liberal minority in Parliament was to ensure that Trudeau’s power would be kept curtailed, according to the CSIS documents.
“I have been saying for years, including on the floor of the House of Commons, that China is trying to interfere in our democracy, in the processes in our country, including during our elections. We are aware of this,” Trudeau told reporters on Feb. 17, hours after the Globe article was published.
“This is not a new phenomenon. This is something that countries around the world have been grappling with for a long time and Canada is no exception.”
Trudeau also insisted that the Canadian election process is intact.
“For the 2019, and for the 2021 elections, and for elections going forward, this government created a panel of top civil servants, who would lean on all the information provided to them by our security agencies like CSIS to ensure that interference by foreign actors does not affect the running or the outcomes of our elections,” he said.
“All Canadians can have total confidence that the outcomes of the 2019 and the 2021 elections were determined by Canadians and Canadians alone.”
The Globe report noted that the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force, established by the Trudeau government to monitor threats to federal elections, never raised the issue of foreign interference during the 2019 or 2021 campaigns.
This was further supported by Walied Soliman, who served as the Conservative party representative to SITE.
By Andrew Chen