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