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Controversial Liberal MP Told Toronto’s Chinese Consulate to Delay Releasing ‘Two Michaels’ During Meng Wanzhou Saga

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: March 22, 2023
Liberal MP Han Dong told the Toronto Chinese Consulate to keep holding Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor during the Meng Wanzhou saga
A file photo of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing in January of 2019. The most recent of a series of leaks from anonymous Canadian intelligence officials to establishment media alleges controversial Liberal MP Han Dong told the Toronto Chinese Consulate’s Consul General not to release two Canadian citizens imprisoned in the mainland during the saga of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. (Image: GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

A Member of Canadian Parliament at the center of a recent series of leaks alleging he was hand chosen by the Toronto Chinese Consulate to represent the ruling Liberal Party in the last Federal Election has been rocked by a new scandal. 

The new allegations claim that in 2021, the MP told the Consul General to not release two Canadians imprisoned in China as revenge for the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

The story was broken once again by Canadian network media outlet Global News in March 22 reporting by Chinese Communist Party interference and influence specialist Sam Cooper.

Allegations stem from “two separate national security sources,” who remain anonymous to protect their identity from prosecution, who told the outlet that Don Valley North MP Han Dong had initiated contact with Consul General of the Toronto Chinese Consulate, Han Tao, in February of 2021 for the purposes of suggesting “that if Beijing released the ‘Two Michaels,’ whom China accused of espionage, the Opposition Conservatives would benefit,” Cooper wrote.

A CCP-initiated election interference operation ensuring that not only would the opposition Conservative Party be denied an election win, but that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party would be limited to a minority government in the last election, is at the center of a series of February leaks from unnamed Canadian spy agency members to network media.

Outlet Globe and Mail stated it had viewed several documents leaked from CSIS, Canada’s version of the CIA, which had documented “an orchestrated machine” operated by the Communist Party to interfere in Canada’s elections so as to achieve its goals.

Those allegations were a follow up of an earlier leak extended in November of 2022 stating no less than 11 candidates who ran for office in the 2019 election accepted funding from the CCP through proxies and/or placed agents into the offices of elected officials.

The “Two Michaels” refers to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, a pair of Canadians residing in mainland China at the time that Meng Wanzhou was arrested at the Vancouver Airport in December of 2018 following the execution of an international arrest warrant issued by the Donald Trump Administration.

Kovrig and Spavor were arrested by the Party just days after Meng’s detention and were held for years in the regime’s notorious “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” prison system without access to Consular representation.

In August of 2021, Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Meng Wanzhou was released after the Joe Biden Administration dropped the charges just a few months after taking office.

Cooper paraphrased the intelligence sources as stating that “Dong stipulated at the outset” that the contact he initiated with Consul General Han “was both a personal and a work-related conversation.”

Sources told Global News that Han Dong, who had been under a national security investigation since before running for office, was classified as a “close friend of the Consulate based on his history of calls.”

“Apart from the discussion about the Two Michaels, the two sources said Dong and Consul General Han allegedly spoke at length about China’s problematic reputation in Canada, as well as discussing perceptions of human rights accusations against Beijing,” Cooper wrote.

CSIS deliberated during their investigation whether Dong could be considered to be operating beyond the normal diplomatic channels in his contact with the Consulate.

Global News asked the spy agency for comment on the story, only to be told that they could neither confirm nor deny the allegations. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Trudeau’s office told Global that they were unaware of the event until Dong disclosed the conversation to them following the allegations.

The Prime Minister himself was also hit by a recent leak from unnamed intelligence sources who alleged that the CCP had directly laundered $1 million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in 2014 through a Chinese billionaire before Justin Trudeau defeated former Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Dong told Global News in an emailed statement that the purpose of his visit with Han Tao was to bring up “the status of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and called for their immediate release.”

“At every opportunity before they returned home, I adamantly demanded their release to Canada without delay,” Dong claimed, adding, “Any suggestions otherwise are false and are attempts to mislead you and your readers, and slander me.”