A deep dive into alleged Communist China meddling in Toronto mayoral election

Michael TaubeThere’s a new allegation of foreign interference in a Canadian election. To no one’s surprise, it’s tied to Communist China once again. This time, the focus is on Olivia Chow, the winner of the recent Toronto mayoral by-election.

“Two prominent community groups aligned with the Chinese government – including one that allegedly hosted a Chinese police station in Ontario – ‘went all out’ to support Chow’s push to be mayor,” the National Post’s Tom Blackwell wrote on July 10. According to a letter from one of the groups, they claim to have been “supplying numerous volunteers to the effort.”

How did this information come on the radar?

“A post last month on WeChat from Felicity Guo, deputy secretary general of the Canada Toronto Fuqing Business Association (CTFBA), one of the two groups, urged followers to back Chow,” noted Blackwell. “The message was accompanied by a photo of Guo, Chow and another woman.”

Communist china toronto

Olivia Chow

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Chow’s staff immediately denied the allegation. “We did not ask for or co-ordinate any volunteers from either organization,” said Shirven Rezvany, a spokesman for the Toronto mayor-elect.

However, there was an intriguing quote in the Post article by Jonathan Fon, a Toronto-based commentator and Beijing critic. He felt it was unlikely that Chow would have been motivated to promote groups aligned with the Chinese Communists but noted, “it is a concern that those pro-Beijingers really have the capacity of mobilization among Chinese diasporas.” Moreover, Fon said, “those Chinese mainlanders have been programmed with Chinese communist propaganda, brainwashed.”

That’s an interesting analysis. While we don’t know the whole story of the allegation related to Chow and the two community groups, the fact that pro-Beijing forces may be able to mobilize easily and readily is unsettling. It also confirms what many of us have suspected: Chinese interference in our election process is expanding and getting worse.

Media organizations like Global News, CBC News, Globe and Mail and others have identified Independent MP (and former Liberal) Han Dong, Independent Ontario MPP (and former PC) Vincent Ke and former consul-general Tong Xiaoling in last year’s Vancouver municipal election as possible connections or political pipelines. CSIS reports, analyses, briefings and memos have detailed what Chinese Communist Party officials have tried to do in Canada – and what they’ve succeeded in doing.

It’s not a new phenomenon, either.

“CSIS has known about (China’s) foreign interference in Canada for at least the last 30 years,” Michel Juneau-Katsuya, CSIS’s former chief of the Asia-Pacific unit, told the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in late March. “Every federal government from Mr. Mulroney to Mr. Trudeau today (has) been compromised by agents of communist China. Every government (was) informed at one point or another. Every government chose to ignore CSIS’s warning.”

I’ve mentioned these pertinent facts before. So have others. My guess is we’ll all keep bringing them up (and more) until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals resolve this significant problem with our nation’s safety and security.

It’s abundantly clear that many Canadians are fed up with repeated allegations of foreign interference from China. They want something to be done about it.

Not a special rapporteur like former Governor General David Johnston, that is. He turned out to be a complete disaster in Trudeau’s made-up role that contained no judicial or legal authority to make a difference. Johnston fell to a dismal 27 percent support in terms of credibility and impartiality in a Leger/National Post poll on June 1. He finally resigned eight days later.

Rather, Canadians appear to want what opposition parties have supported twice in the House of Commons: a public inquiry. Last month’s Nanos Research survey for CTV News found that “nearly six in 10 Canadians say they prefer the idea of a formal public inquiry headed by a judge with full subpoena powers.”

Has Ottawa moved in this direction? No. What are the reasons for the delay? No idea. Will the allegation of pro-Beijing forces getting involved in the Toronto mayoral by-election change Trudeau’s mind? Not likely, based on his inaction up to this point.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc told the media on June 10 that “a public inquiry has never been off the table. All options remain on the table.” Alas, the imaginary table that LeBlanc referred to still hasn’t been set thus far.

Maybe it’s time to bring out the fine china and discuss the fact that Communist China is a legitimate threat to our liberty, freedom, democracy – and election process.

Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and Washington Times contributor, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.

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