Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s consulate in Toronto accused of election interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of attempting to interfere in the country’s elections. Mr Trudeau accused Beijing of playing “aggressive games” with democracies and of targeting Canadian institutions. It comes as local media report that Canadian intelligence identified a “clandestine network” of Beijing-backed candidates at recent elections. At least 11 candidates were supported by China in the 2019 federal elections, officials reportedly told Mr Trudeau. Citing unnamed intelligence officials, local broadcaster Global News reported that Beijing had directed funds to the candidates and that Chinese operatives had acted as campaign advisers to many candidates. The operation, which was reportedly directed from China’s consulate in Toronto, also sought to place operatives within the offices of serving MPs in an attempt to influence policy, the outlet alleged. (https://news.yahoo.com/trudeau-accuses-china-aggressive-election-045504416.html) In one case, funding of C$250,000 was directed through the office of an Ontario-based provincial MP. And efforts were also made to “co-opt and corrupt” former Canadian officials in a bid to gain influence within political circles. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denied these allegations. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has no interest in meddling in Canadian elections.

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