The RCMP says it has more than 100 ongoing investigations related to foreign interference, including one involving intimidation allegations targeting a Conservative member of Parliament.
Commissioner Michael Duheme told MPs on the procedure and House affairs committee the force is probing allegations Beijing attempted to target and intimidate Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family.
Duheme also said the RCMP has contacted elections officials regarding the allegations, including those involving other elected officials who have made claims of being targeted by Beijing.
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Furthermore, among the allegations made over the past months were that several Chinese police stations were operating in Canada; Duheme told MPs those were now closed.
“We are comfortable based on the criminal intelligence that we have that the activities in the specific areas have shut down,” he said.
“I put a caveat: the policing activities have shut down, but be mindful that the buildings they were using sometimes are community halls, which are meant for other means, but we’re confident with the intelligence that we have the policing activity that was being done there has been shut down and investigations are continuing.”
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Foreign interference, which has dominated the political atmosphere in Ottawa for months amid allegations of Chinese meddling in elections and society, has emerged as a priority for law enforcement, the RCMP has said previously.
So far, only one case has led to charges, Duheme said. In November 2022, a 35-year-old former Hydro-Quebec employee was arrested and charged for allegedly obtaining trade secrets for the Chinese government.
Last month, the federal government confirmed a Globe and Mail report the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had information in 2021 that Beijing was looking at ways to intimidate Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong.
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China has denied the allegations that it targeted Chong after the MP voted in February 2021 in favour of a motion in the House of Commons condemning China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority as a genocide.
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The spat led to both nations expelling diplomats in a tit-for-tat move and prompted a policy change for CSIS to inform MPs of threats no matter how serious.
Since then, NDP MP Jenny Kwan said CSIS has told her that she’s been a target of Chinese government interference. She said the interference attempts date back to the 2019 federal election but are believed to be ongoing.
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Kwan’s revelation came after a source previously told Global News that former Tory leader Erin O’Toole was targeted by China when he led the party in the 2021 federal election.
— with files from The Canadian Press
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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