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Chinese State Interference In Canada’s 2021 Election

October 4th, 2021 13:50

Dis­in­fowatch, a Cana­di­an web­site track­ing for­eign dis­in­for­ma­tion, is report­ing that the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP) and relat­ed actors are tar­get­ing the cred­i­bil­i­ty of Chi­nese-Cana­di­an fed­er­al can­di­dates and Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty leader Erin O’Toole in the fall 2021 fed­er­al elec­tion. Accord­ing to a Dis­in­fowatch report:

Sep­tem­ber 14, 2021 An arti­cle pub­lished Sep­tem­ber 9, 2021 on the CCP-owned tabloid plat­form, Glob­al Times, ques­tions the cred­i­bil­i­ty of Con­ser­v­a­tive leader Erin O’Toole and his party’s for­eign pol­i­cy plat­form on Chi­na. The arti­cle appears to include a threat – that if Cana­da elects a Con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment and that gov­ern­ment adopts the poli­cies in the Conservative’s plat­form, “Chi­na will pay back with a strong counter strike and Cana­da will be the one to suf­fer. The Glob­al Times arti­cle was pub­lished in response to the Con­ser­v­a­tive Party’s for­eign pol­i­cy plat­form on China. […]

The Chi­nese dias­po­ra in Cana­da have also been tar­get­ed by Chi­nese gov­ern­ment influ­ence and pro­pa­gan­da. On Sep­tem­ber 10, 2021, the Chi­nese Min­istry of For­eign Affairs post­ed a state­ment on the web­site of the Chi­nese Embassy in Ottawa. In it, the min­istry crit­i­cized Canada’s human rights record and attacked polit­i­cal lead­ers who, accord­ing to Bei­jing, “car­ried out unpro­voked attacks on China’s human rights and the rule of law dur­ing their debates, and gross­ly inter­fered in China’s inter­nal affairs.”

Chi­nese regime aligned actors have also tar­get­ed indi­vid­ual elec­tion can­di­dates with infor­ma­tion war­fare and influ­ence oper­a­tions intend­ed to dis­cred­it and under­mine vot­er sup­port for them. In one such case, a British Colum­bia incum­bent NDP MP, Jen­ny Kwan, may have been the tar­get of pro-Bei­jing orga­ni­za­tions with pos­si­ble ties to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty. Kwan’s sup­port for Hong Kong pro-democ­ra­cy protests and advo­ca­cy for immi­gra­tion and asy­lum mea­sures for Hong Kongers is like­ly seen as prob­lem­at­ic for the Chi­nese government.

Read the full report here.

In 2019, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment estab­lished the Crit­i­cal Elec­tion Inci­dent Pub­lic Pro­to­col (CEIPP) to mon­i­tor for­eign chal­lenges to the integri­ty of the 2019 and 2021 fed­er­al elections.