Well, you might say that you’ve heard it all before because in the United States, Democrats infamously end erroneously claimed that Russia stole the 2016 presidential election for Donald Trump, and some Republicans say Democratic operatives rigged the 2020 presidential contest for Joe Biden.
But in Canada – a country that has always prided itself on running clean and non-partisan federal voting through Elections Canada – it is becoming increasingly clear that China may have stolen both the 2019 and 2021 federal elections that both produced minority governments for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party of Canada.
In some explosive reporting, both The Globe and Mail and Global News are reporting that China effectively bought a Liberal minority government in 2021 by financing Liberal candidates and defeating Conservative ones.
And it’s all based on secret and top-secret reports from Canada’s intelligence service. Unlike the U.S., where there are 13 separate intelligence-gathering agencies, Canada only has two: the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [CSIS] and the Canadian Armed Forces.
To clarify where this journalism is coming from, The Globe is roughly the equivalent of The New York Times or the Washington Post in terms of being a liberal establishment paper that rarely criticizes the Trudeau government and tends to lob softball questions at Trudeau at carefully orchestrated news conferences, where reporters like myself, are routinely not invited to query the prime minister.
The same might be said of Global News, the MSNBC of Canada.
Trudeau has actually attempted to control the media in Canada through a combination of subsidizing the mainstream media outlets with $600 million in taxpayer funding and censorship legislation. The CBC is wholly owned by the government and receives $1.2 billion from the federal government to operate.
So to see this media turning on Trudeau is truly astounding and represents a sea change in Canadian journalism. Or they might just be noticing that a lot of U.S. media are tiring of the languorous President Joe Biden and moving on.
Nonetheless, the accusations that China has Trudeau in its hip pocket have resonated now for a week and the story continues to get worse, not better, for the prime minister.
As Bob Fife and Steven Chase wrote, “China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals — but only to another minority government — and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.
“The full extent of the Chinese interference operation is laid bare in both secret and top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents viewed by The Globe and Mail that cover the period before and after the September, 2021, election that returned the Liberals to office.”
The China factor is nothing new for Trudeau and being at the center of this scandal is more than appropriate for a world leader who once infamously cited China as the foreign state he “most admired” because of its ability to turn its economy “around on a dime.”
Apparently, it can also turn Canadian democracy around on an abundance of dimes.
Trudeau has already denied he was briefed by CSIS about Chinese interference in the 2019 election. But he appears to be lying about that because reports say CSIS told Trudeau that China interfered by financing candidates in Toronto.
He is at last now acknowledging Chinese interference — but doesn’t seem to interested in knowing the full extent of that meddling.
How has Trudeau responded to the story? Not with contrition but with vitriol.
He continues to maintain that China’s actions had no bearing on the outcome of the 2021 election, recently stating that the leaked documents contain "inaccuracies." Instead of championing the whistleblower who alerted the media about Chinese interference, Trudeau told reporters that he wants CSIS to hunt down the persons or persons who risked their jobs to tell the truth.
Former Canadian Ambassador to China David Mulroney told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Feb. 7, 2023 that China stops at very little when it aims to advance its global agenda and national interests.
“I’ve followed your discussions carefully and have heard some members ask why we are focusing on China. It's because China is a formidable military and economic power that, as a matter of policy, infiltrates and undermines organizations abroad perceived to be a threat to the Communist Party; it's because China is also the focus of concerns about political interference in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand; it's because I believe that Beijing’s ambitions and capabilities are growing; and it's because many of the victims of PRC interference in Canada are members of Han Chinese, Uighur and Tibetan diaspora communities that Beijing threatens with seeming impunity.
“Beijing’s tools include bribery, disinformation, collusion with criminal gangs and the ever-present threat of hostage-taking. It is increasingly sophisticated in its intimidation of elected officials who dare to speak the truth to Canadians.”
Mulroney noted that China “recruits proxies to parrot its talking points; to expand its influence in media, on college campuses and in government; and to launder its illicit financial contributions.”
He said that China’s goal is “to transform Canada into a compliant country that perpetually looks over its shoulder to be sure what it says and does meets Beijing’s approval and that looks the other way when Beijing’s extraterritorial reach extends into our communities.”
And yes, if you dare to criticize Beijing, China’s proxies will promote “the falsehood that simply speaking up about PRC [People’s Republic of China] interference is itself racist and anti-Chinese.”
If a former ambassador to China can recognize China’s ambition, why can’t the Trudeau government?
Yet Trudeau and his henchmen continue to obfuscate.
Speaking to Global News on Sunday, mendacious Marco Mendicino, the Canada’s public safety minister, could actually claim, “We have always been upfront with Canadians that foreign interference is a significant threat in the national security landscape.”
Mendicino would not say if an independent panel reviewing the integrity of the 2019 and 2021 federal elections was able to see the same CSIS documents viewed by The Globe.
Here is his stiflingly stupid word salad response: “Our nonpartisan, professional public servants look at the information that they need to make the assessment around the integrity of the election. They get the access that they need to the information that is required to come to those conclusions.”
Maybe all of this explains why Trudeau’s behavior towards China has been so gallingly subservient. At the last G-20 summit in Bali, Trudeau was asked whether he would call China’s extermination of the Uyghurs “a genocide.” He refused to call it that.
Then he had a widely publicized and hilarious off-line conversation with Chinese dictator Xi-Jinping at the same gathering. It was a rather one-sided dialogue, as Trudeau endured a tongue-lashing from the Chinese strongman who was furious that the Canadian prime minister had publicly discussed his private talks with China.
Trudeau barely wedged a word into the gabfest before retreating to the men’s room – apparently either to relieve himself or vomit. It wasn’t clear which.
No scandal – political or private – has brought Trudeau down. He survived highly credible allegations that he or his cabinet judicially interfered in the fortunes of Quebec-based contractor SNC Lavalin. He walked away from revelations and videos that he had a virtual second career as a blackface performer. That was total hypocrisy from a man who routinely dismisses his critics as racists.
But Trudeau may have met his bete noire with China – the country that he most admires.