Trudeau’s National Security Adviser Says She Hasn’t Seen Evidence of Chinese Funding to 11 Candidates

Trudeau’s National Security Adviser Says She Hasn’t Seen Evidence of Chinese Funding to 11 Candidates
Jody Thomas, Canada’s national security and intelligence adviser to the prime minister, appears as a witness before the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa on Nov. 17, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Peter Wilson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser Jody Thomas says her office has seen no evidence supporting allegations that the Chinese regime funded 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election, but also said federal intelligence agencies are investigating the allegations.

“The news stories that you have read about interference are just that: news stories,” Thomas told the House of Commons national defence committee on Dec. 8, adding “We’ve not seen money going to 11 candidates, period.”

Thomas was referring to a Global News report published on Nov. 7 that alleged the prime minister was briefed by intelligence officials in January about at least 11 candidates receiving Chinese funding during the 2019 election.
Trudeau has denied being briefed on the matter when asked specifically about the report of 11 candidates receiving Chinese funding.

“There’s a news report on election interference,” Thomas told MPs Thursday. “There is not necessarily a CSIS report that equates to that news report. The prime minister has been thoroughly briefed.”

Conservative MPs on the committee questioned Thomas about the allegations, asking about specific instances where the prime minister had been briefed by federal intelligence agencies in the recent past.

Thomas said Trudeau was briefed “as recently as two weeks ago” about general attempts of foreign interference, but did not give specific details.

Referring to the allegations of federal candidates receiving Chinese funding, Conservative MP Pat Kelly asked Thomas if she was suggesting them to be false.

“No, I’m not suggesting that. I’m saying I do not know,” Thomas replied. “There is a blurring of what’s been reported to the prime minister and what’s been reported in the press, and so I’m trying to differentiate them.”

“I have not been briefed and have no awareness, and I’ve asked the question of 11 candidates and the connection to the money that was in that report. I know nothing of that. I have seen no evidence of it.”

However, Thomas added that she was “very concerned” about the allegations.

“The RCMP is doing an investigation to understand what’s going on.”

‘Reports Constantly’

Conservative MP Shelby Kramp-Neuman asked Thomas if CSIS had, to her knowledge, reported any attempts of foreign interference in either the 2019 or 2021 federal elections.

“If so, when was it published?” said Kramp-Neuman, also asking if Thomas could share any such reports with the committee.

“CSIS reports constantly, so I can’t give you a title of this specific report,” Thomas said. “It'd certainly be heavily redacted if there were one and I wouldn’t be able to speak about it here.”

The Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee previously questioned Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault if his office was ever informed of reported Chinese interference in the 2019 election.

Perrault told the committee he was unaware of any “campaigns of interference by Beijing” other than what he had read in the news.

“I’ve not received any reports regarding specific instances of noncompliance with the legislation or specific instances of Chinese interference in the election,” he said on Nov. 22.
Isaac Teo contributed to this report.