(OTTAWA) Conservative Michael Chong heard it from top national security officials: Beijing has indeed unleashed a campaign of harassment against his family members in Hong Kong. While he still doesn’t know when the Trudeau government was informed, he does know one thing: the Chinese diplomat who orchestrated the whole thing from Toronto should have been fired “yesterday.”

The elected official had the confirmation of what he feared during a meeting organized by Justin Trudeau in a room of the West Block, and which was attended by the prime minister’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas, and the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), David Vigneault.

The latter read to him an excerpt from a CSIS report prepared in July 2021 which was published in the Globe and Mail on Monday. “He read the passages about me, which confirms that a diplomat from the Toronto consulate targeted my family members in Hong Kong,” MP Chong said in an interview Wednesday.

He still does not know, at the end of this meeting, when the government was informed of the situation. “They will try to see if the ministers’ offices have been or not,” explains the MP, whose party had asked this question many times the day before in the House of Commons.

Certainly now the “cat is out of the bag,” said Chong, whose father was Chinese and mother Dutch. “It’s public now. So many families have to suffer in silence, and their stories go untold.” And if Canada does not crack down, its inaction will be an invitation to all authoritarian regimes, he warns.

“This diplomat [Zhao Wei] should have been expelled yesterday. In my opinion, the government has no choice but to declare him persona non grata, especially since this information is public. If he doesn’t, he sends the message to the world that Canada is open to this kind of interference, and that there are no consequences, “said the elected Ontario representative.

And the message will be heard very clearly by authoritarian countries like Russia or Iran, which are already intimidating their diasporas in Canada, argues Michael Chong.

The gray areas surrounding his story, which he was “extremely disappointed to learn” months later, remain for now. “It could be two things: either it was a political calculation on the part of the Trudeau government, or it was a complete malfunction of the machinery of government,” MP Chong assumes.

“Somehow it’s disappointing, and we need answers, and fast,” he concludes.

The most appropriate forum to obtain it is the House of Commons, according to him.

In the arena the day before, Justin Trudeau swore he wanted to get to the bottom of things. And in the Liberal benches, there was indignation at the suggestion that the affair could have been covered up for partisan reasons. “It is outrageous to claim that an elected official would support an attack on another elected official,” said Minister Marco Mendicino.

The prime minister said Wednesday that information about Michael Chong had not been shared by CSIS. “Monday morning we asked what happened with that information, if it got out of CSIS. She was not. CSIS determined this was not something worth sharing at higher levels, because it was not a serious enough concern,” he explained.

The shooting will however be corrected, he specified. “We have made it clear to CSIS and our national security officials that in the future, when there are concerns about a member of Parliament or their family, they must be escalated to higher levels [in government], even if CSIS deems that this is not a level that would justify her taking action,” said Justin Trudeau.

The directive takes effect “immediately,” he added upon arriving at his party’s caucus on Wednesday.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Liberals were pounded throughout the sitting over these new revelations of interference – including by Michael Chong, who found himself in the Chinese crosshairs after he sponsored a February 2021 motion acknowledging the existence of a genocide against the Uyghurs, in Xinjiang.

When he rose to ask a question about the scandal affecting him personally, the MP received a warm ovation from his peers. “It warmed my heart. Having the support of colleagues is likely to strengthen convictions and determination,” says Michael Chong.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada did not respond to emailed questions about Zhao Wei.