Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan said Monday that Canada’s spy agency informed her last week that she’s been a target of Chinese government interference for years.
Speaking before question period in Ottawa on Monday, Kwan told reporters that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) reached out “a couple weeks ago” to offer her a briefing on foreign interference.
Kwan said she met with CSIS officials on Friday.
“CSIS has confirmed with me that I am being targeted for foreign interference and will continue to be a target,” she told reporters.
Kwan confirmed that CSIS told her the interference was on behalf of the Chinese government, but said she could not provide details about what form the attempted influence took, citing “national security reasons.”
She said the interference attempts date back to the 2019 federal election but are believed to be ongoing.
Kwan said she believes she and other targets — she included Conservative MP Michael Chong and “everyday Canadians” in her comments — should have been made aware of the interference attempts “the minute intelligence authorities know about this.”
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Kwan, the NDP’s immigration critic, said she believes she has been a target for interference as a result of her advocacy for residents of Hong Kong, where she was born.
Kwan said she does not have any family living in Hong Kong or mainland China.
“I will stand firm with the people who are fighting for basic human rights, stand firm with the people of Hong Kong,” she said.
“I will not be intimidated. I will not be silenced in any way. Whoever is trying to put pressure on me in whatever way they are trying to do it, they will not succeed.”
Kwan’s disclosure comes less than a week after the federal government’s special rapporteur David Johnston recommended Ottawa not move forward with a public inquiry on foreign interference, but instead hold public hearings.
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The NDP put forward a motion that will be debated on Tuesday calling for Johnston to step aside as special rapporteur over the “mounting appearance of bias.”
Kwan’s revelation comes after a source told Global News that former Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was targeted by China when he led the party in the 2021 federal election.
O’Toole was also briefed by CSIS on Friday, according to the source. The information was first reported by the Globe and Mail that same day.
Chong told Global News earlier this month that he was “shaken” to learn about alleged Chinese interference targeting him and his family in Hong Kong, as reported by the Globe and Mail, which cited a top-secret document and an anonymous national security source.
Reports of alleged interference against Chong led to the expulsion of Zhao Wei, a diplomat at the Chinese consulate in Toronto, after weeks of mounting pressure on the Liberals to lay diplomatic consequences.
— with files from Global News’s Mercedes Stephenson, Eric Stober, Sean Boynton
Former Canadian Conservative leader targeted by China
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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