(Ottawa) Justin Trudeau insists that information collected by CSIS on the Beijing campaign targeting Michael Chong and members of his family never reached him. However, he offered few details on the reasons for this mess, which two of his former ministers denounced.
The Prime Minister preferred to look to the future rather than dwell on what may have happened within the senior public service, or why he said that the report produced in July 2021 by the Service Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) was “not out” of the agency.
“I shared the most accurate information I had at that time, both with Michael Chong and with Canadians,” the prime minister pleaded during a press briefing on the sidelines of the Liberal national convention being held. in Ottawa. Asked to explain where he got the information, he said he didn’t want to “go into detail.”
In effect, the document was shared: with the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, with government departments, and with the Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister’s department. That’s what current national security adviser Jody Thomas told Michael Chong on Thursday.
The apathy of the government machine at such high levels has been deplored by two former Liberal ministers, John McCallum – also a former Canadian ambassador to China – and the former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna .
“That a bunch of people in Ottawa knew MP Chong’s family was being targeted by the Chinese, decided not to tell him, and that there were no apparent consequences is appalling personally, politically and diplomatic. But not surprising in my experience. Let’s get serious,” McKenna wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Completely agree,” echoed his former colleague McCallum.
Justin Trudeau had nothing new to share about the possibility that Canada could expel Zhao Wei, the diplomat from the Toronto consulate who orchestrated these maneuvers against the conservative. “It’s no small thing to expel diplomats, and it’s something that should be taken seriously,” he argued.
“And I can assure you that Minister [of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly] is looking in detail at the options and the justifications, and also thinking about the possible consequences. But we’re going to do it the right way,” the Liberal leader continued.
The Trudeau government summoned China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, on Thursday to reprimand him.
At the embassy site, a spokesperson for Xi Jinping’s envoy “vigorously protested the threat to expel relevant Chinese diplomatic and consular staff based on rumors of so-called ‘interference by the China “amplified by some Canadian politicians and media”.
For these, “in an attempt to make political gains and attract attention, driven by ideological biases”, have “manipulated China-related issues, attacking and discrediting China”, he said. there were also protests in the Chinese camp.
And if Ottawa continues its “provocations”, Beijing will retaliate every time, “until the end”, it was concluded.
Minister Joly agreed that the risk of reprisals is a factor that Ottawa takes into consideration.
“It’s important for Canadians to know [that] what we learned from the experience of the two Michaels is that … the People’s Republic of China will take action,” she told a committee. of the House of Commons.
The three opposition parties believe that the government must carry out one or more expulsions.
The Michael Chong case was revealed by The Globe and Mail, which on Monday published excerpts from the secret report produced in July 2021 by CSIS, in which we learn that the Ontario elected official and members of his family in Hong Kong were targeted with threats as part of a Chinese scheme.
The main interested party learned it from the newspapers. Justin Trudeau too, according to his words.