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The CCP Meddled in Canada’s 2021 Federal Election to Support Trudeau, Says Spy Agency

The revelations are a sharp contrast to March 2021 U.S. National Intelligence Council briefings that claimed Russia, rather than China, influenced the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: February 18, 2023
The CCP influenced the 2021 Canadian Federal Election, CSIS documents showed.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G20 Summit on June 29, 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Documents from Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, viewed by establishment media outlet The Globe and Mail, chronicled how the CCP used its network to ensure the Conservative Party lost seats while also limiting Trudeau’s Liberal Party to a second minority government. (Image: Kazuhiro NOGI - Pool/Getty Images)

Communist China put its feet on the scales of Canada’s 2021 federal election, working to ensure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party were able to achieve a renewed mandate.

But the Party’s objectives were highly notable, seeking to not only guarantee that the Conservative Party — which the regime regarded as a hawkish threat to its foreign policy initiatives — lost seats, but that the Liberals and Trudeau were limited to only a minority government.

In the 2021 election, the Conservative Party actually won the majority of the popular vote, at 33.7 percent compared to the Liberal Party’s 32.6 percent. 

However, Canada’s democratic system of representation by population meant that the Liberals, with heavy support in the densely-populated Province of Ontario, won 160 seats compared to the Conservatives’ 119 seats.

Since 170 seats are required for a majority government, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party rely on the good graces of competing left wing parties, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois, who won 32 and 25 seats respectively, to pass legislation and survive potential no-confidence votes.

Canada’s federal electoral system does not vote directly for a prime minister. Instead, the leader of the Party that wins the most seats automatically becomes prime hinister.

Subverting democracy

The allegations emerged in a Feb. 17 article by the Globe and Mail, a business-oriented publication.

The outlet reported it viewed multiple documents by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) chronicling a pattern of the CCP’s work to undermine Canada’s democracy.

The Globe says that the CSIS documents they viewed had also been shared with member countries of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, in addition to the spy agencies of Germany and France.


“An orchestrated machine” is how The Globe chose to characterize the CCP’s foreign election influence operations, which they say had two goals.

One, was to ensure that Trudeau’s Liberals retained a minority government. The second was to ensure that certain Conservative Party MPs regarded as detrimental to the regime’s aims were routed.

According to the documents, CSIS was paraphrased as stating that the orders came directly from Beijing, instructing the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in Canada “to create strategies to leverage politically [active] Chinese community members and associations within Canadian society.”

“China employed disinformation campaigns and proxies connected to Chinese-Canadian organizations in Vancouver and the GTA, which have large mainland Chinese immigrant communities, to voice opposition to the Conservatives and favour the Trudeau Liberals,” The Globe stated.

CSIS documents showed that “Chinese diplomats and their proxies” and “some members of the Chinese-language media” were “instructed” by the Consulates and Embassy to push the narrative inside the Chinese community that the Conservatives were too critical “of China” and would follow the lead of former U.S. President Donald Trump in restricting the access of Chinese students to certain educational programs and universities, The Globe summarized.

The article also stated that the CSIS documents showed how “Chinese diplomats” deployed “foreign interference operations” on elected officials and political candidates. 

Tactics employed by the CCP’s network primarily involved making undeclared cash donations and deploying international Chinese students to volunteer in campaigns or work for business owners.

One particularly egregious — and illegal — manifestation of the tactic was to have Party-led sympathizers make over-the-board donations to political campaigns, which are eligible for a federal tax credit, and then have the same campaigns issue an under-the-table rebate for the difference between the donation and the tax credit to the donors in exchange for support.

Another aspect is that the CCP sought to bully “vulnerable Chinese immigrants in Canada,” The Globe added.

CSIS documents also showed that former Vancouver Consul Wang Jin was directly connected to the Party’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), which the Globe described as “a vast organization that uses mostly covert and often manipulative operations to influence overseas ethnic Chinese communities and foreign governments.”

“CSIS said Mr. Wang served as an intermediary between the UFWD and Chinese-Canadian community leaders in British Columbia,” the article wrote.

Moreover, former Consul General Tong Xiaolong was noted to boast about how she personally saw to it that Conservative MPs in the region were defeated, such as Kenny Chiu, who openly criticized the CCP’s crackdown on Hong Kong and tabled a private member’s bill in Parliament that would have led to a registry of foreign agents.

After Chiu was dethroned by the Liberal Party candidate in the 2021 election, CSIS quoted Tong as saying that “their strategy and tactics were good, and contributed to achieving their goals while still adhering to the local political customs in a clever way.”

A sharp contrast

The revelations come in sharp contrast to March 2021 issuances by the U.S. intelligence community, which claimed that it was Russia, rather than Beijing, that sought to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Moreover, the IC declared that the influence was in support of former President Donald Trump and in opposition to then-candidate Joe Biden.

The report, issued by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), defined election influence as “overt and covert efforts by foreign governments or actors acting as agents…intended to affect directly or indirectly a U.S. election.”

The term “election influence” was contrasted against “election interference,” which the NIC defined as “a subset of election influence activities targeted at the technical aspects of the election, including voter registration, casting and counting ballots, or reporting results.”

While the NIC assessed that no foreign entities actually attempted to “interfere” with the election, it claimed that the Kremlin had “conducted influence operations against the 2020 U.S. presidential election aimed at denigrating President Biden and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.”

The NIC proposed that the alleged Russian influence campaign “revolved around a narrative–that Russian actors began spreading as early as 2014–alleging corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other U.S. officials and Ukraine.”

Yet, these statements now stand in sharp contrast to recent revelations that CCP entities donated to the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Biden Center after a multi-pronged FBI investigation found classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president of the Obama administration stored in an unsecured closet at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

The discovery was part of multiple caches uncovered by law enforcement earlier in the year, most of which were held directly at Joe Biden’s Delaware residence.

Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, also has a well documented history of courting Chinese nationals directly linked to the CCP in business operations. 

Emails from the infamous “Hunter Biden Laptop” scandal showed that in 2017, Hunter had rented an office from a D.C. building called the House of Sweden requesting keys for “office mates” Jill Biden, Joe Biden, and Jim Biden.

What stood out about the transaction is that at the same time, Hunter also requested keys for a Gong Dongwen, a direct subordinate to Ye Jianming, founder and chairman of China Energy Company Limited (CEFC).

Ye was arrested in 2018 under Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

A September 2020 report issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs directly stated, “Hunter Biden had business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong, and other Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army. Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow.”

In the key-request email, Hunter Biden also requested, “I would like the office sign to reflect the following.”

“‘The Biden Foundation’ and ‘Hudson West (CEFC US).’”

The notion that Russia’s propaganda team influenced the election stands somewhat at odds with January reporting by journalist Matt Taibbi on “the Twitter Files.”

The Files, released under the auspices of new owner Elon Musk, revealed that when Senate Intelligence Committee then-Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) pressured Twitter’s former management team in 2017 to come up with evidence that Russia had influenced the 2016 presidential election, an internal “Russia Task Force” created by Twitter to satisfy Sen. Warner’s hunt came up almost completely empty.

Internal emails showed the Task Force found “no evidence of a coordinated approach,” with the vast majority of Russia-linked accounts spending under $10,000 on Twitter advertising.

Only two accounts spent more, one of which was Kremlin-run state outlet RT.