Following bombshell leaks alleging the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interfered in the 2015, 2019 and 2021 Canadian federal elections to help Justin Trudeau win, MPs from the Conservative Party, Bloc Québécois, and NDP voted to recommend an independent public inquiry into Chinese election interference.
During a Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Foreign Election Interference, the NDP finally broke ranks with the NDP-Liberal coalition and proposed a motion to have an independent public inquiry investigate the election interference allegations. Conservative and Bloq Quebecois MPs voted in favour of the NDP’s motion, while the Liberals all voted against it. After several amendments, the vote passed 6-5.
Trudeau had been dismissing the need for a public inquiry, and suggested that anyone concerned with Chinese electoral interference is a racist.
This vote puts Trudeau in a position where he can either respect the majority vote among elected MPs and permit the public inquiry, or disregard it and cast a shadow over Canada’s 2015, 2019, and 2021 elections.
The vote follows a number of leaks to the media from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) that suggested the CCP interfered in Canada’s last three elections.
In one instance, Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin was told by a Chinese government official that if he donated $1 million to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Beijing would reimburse him – a conversation overheard by CSIS.
Another CSIS allegation suggests that the CCP mobilized Chinese international students to campaign for Liberal candidates such as Han Dong, now MP for Don Valley North, and employed disinformation campaigns through Chinese outlets to influence Chinese-Canadians’ votes.
Prime Minister Trudeau has attempted to downplay these claims. Recently, Trudeau chose his own panel to review the election interference claims by assigning the former CEO of his family’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation to conduct the review, which found that election integrity was held up in 2019 and 2021.
The internal review was not released to the public, and is separate from a public inquiry.
On Wednesday, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation returned a $200,000 donation received seven years ago from a CCP affiliate.
Note: This article has been updated with a correction to indicate the NDPs proposed the motion and not the Conservatives.