Liberals 'Ignored CSIS,' Tory MP Says, as Report Alleges Liberal MP Was a 'Witting Affiliate' in Beijing's Interference Efforts

Liberals 'Ignored CSIS,' Tory MP Says, as Report Alleges Liberal MP Was a 'Witting Affiliate' in Beijing's Interference Efforts
Han Dong, now a federal Liberal MP, celebrates with supporters as a provincial Liberal candidate in the Toronto area on May 22, 2014. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)
Omid Ghoreishi

Conservative MP Michael Cooper says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "has a lot to answer for" after a report citing sources said the PMO was warned by intelligence officials that a Liberal MP was part of a Chinese foreign interference network.

The Feb. 24 report by Global News says national security officials have alleged that Liberal MP Han Dong is one of at least 11 federal candidates in the Toronto area who were supported by Beijing during the 2019 federal election.

The report, citing unnamed sources, says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) believes Dong is a "witting affiliate" in China's election interference networks, and that Trudeau's team was advised by CSIS to rescind Dong's candidacy.

Dong won the Liberal-stronghold riding of Don Valley North in both the 2019 and 2021 elections.

"CSIS warned Trudeau's senior staff that they should rescind his nomination. They ignored CSIS," Cooper said on Twitter on Feb. 24.

"It looks like the Liberal Party may be compromised. Justin Trudeau has a lot to answer for."

The Epoch Times contacted Dong, the Liberal Party, and the Prime Minister's Office for comment, but didn't hear back.

Dong, a former Ontario MPP, published a statement on Feb. 27, denying the allegations.

"As a Member of Parliament I have the utmost regard for the integrity of our democratic institutions and electoral processes. I strongly reject the insinuations in media reporting that allege I have played a role in offshore interference in these processes and will defend myself vigorously against such inaccurate and irresponsible claims that come from an unverified and anonymous source," he said.

"All the procedures and processes related to my campaign and political career have been continually, transparently and publicly reported as required. My nomination and campaign teams have found no indication of any irregularities or compliance issues regarding my candidacy or election."


Global says its sources have said that Dong made frequent calls to Chinese officials and "was considered a close friend of the Toronto Consulate."

The report adds that during the 2019 election campaign, bus-loads of Chinese international students "with fake addresses" were allegedly brought into the riding and "coerced" to vote for Dong's candidacy for the Liberals.

The report also cites an intelligence official as saying that Dong met with a United Front Work Department official in New York state while CSIS was investigating Beijing's 2019 election interference. The United Front is “a primary foreign interference tool” for Beijing, according to a post by Public Safety Canada citing research by think tanks.

The report adds that according to CSIS, Dong was a "close contact" of former Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan, "who is a target of CSIS."

Numerous attempts by The Epoch Times seeking comment from Chan have gone unanswered.

Chan told Global News: “This sort of vague innuendo is impossible to respond to. To the extent you are suggesting I am not a true Canadian, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

A 2015 report by the Globe and Mail said that Chan was subject of a warning to the Ontario government by CSIS for fear of being under foreign influence. Chan has sued the Globe for its reporting.

The Feb. 24 Global News report cites a source as saying that the Chinese Consulate in Toronto wasn't pleased with the "performance" of Geng Tan, the previous Liberal MP holding the Don Valley North riding, and cites multiple sources as saying that Dong emerged as Geng's successor in ways that CSIS "found suspicious."

The Epoch Times has not seen the original documents or accounts of the sources the report is based on.

Election Interference Probe

On Feb. 21, the House of Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee voted to expand its ongoing study of Beijing's election interference as more news reports emerged citing intelligence sources on the issue.
The meeting was held as a special session after a Feb. 17 Globe and Mail report said that according to classified intelligence documents and sources, Beijing interfered in the 2021 election, while expressing that its desired outcome was a minority Liberal government. It also reported that China's former consul general in Vancouver had boasted about helping to ensure that two Conservative candidates in the 2021 election who didn't favour Beijing did not win in the election.
A Global News report published on Nov. 7, 2022, had said that Trudeau had been warned by intelligence officials as early as January 2022 about Beijing's vast influence efforts in the 2019 election, including its funding of a network of at least 11 federal candidates.

Trudeau and his officials have denied being aware of Chinese funding going to the 11 candidates.

"We've not seen money going to 11 candidates, period," Trudeau's National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas told a House of Commons committee on Dec. 8.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Feb. 27, 2023, to add a statement issued by Dong on Feb. 27.