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Just the Facts: Liberal party’s connections to China’s communist regime

How much influence does the Communist Party of China have in Canada?

Health Minister Patty Hadju recently said questioning China’s coronavirus propaganda is akin to promoting conspiracy theories.

Prior to the last federal election, former Liberal MP and ambassador to China John McCallum advised Chinese officials not to hurt the Liberals’ chance of reelection. McCallum said the Conservatives would be harsher in holding China to account. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even once said he admired China’s basic dictatorship.

How much influence does the Communist Party of China have in Canada? 

Canada’s security officials have warned of growing Chinese influence for decades, but these warnings have been largely ignored by both current and former Liberal politicians.

Here are some of the connections prominent Liberals have had with the communist regime:

  • 1997 – The RCMP and CSIS published a joint report called Project Sidewinder, which examined the relationships between powerful players in China and Canada. Project Sidewinder recommended further investigations into Chinese influence in Canada, but the report was dismissed by the PMO under Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
  • 1998 – Project Sidewinder was reviewed and ultimately dismissed again by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which at the time was led by MP Bob Rae. Rae would go on to become an interim Liberal leader.
  • John Rae, brother of former Liberal leader Bob Rae and former Liberal campaign co–chair, is a senior manager of Power Corp. Power Corp has significant investments in China, including assets bought from the China International Trust Investment Corporation (CITIC), an investment firm owned by the Chinese government.
  • André Desmarais, the deputy chair, president, and co–CEO of Power Corp was once appointed as a director of CITIC. Desmarais is the son–in–law of Jean Chrétien.
  • Chrétien himself sat on the board of a Power Corp subsidiary before his election as Liberal leader.
  • Project Sidewinder reported that the individuals the Chinese government hired to found CITIC had been accused of participating in organized crime in China and Hong Kong.
  • Project Sidewinder also reported the CITIC illegally donated money to the U.S. Democratic Party and attempted to influence policy on behalf of China through policy in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • 1990s – Companies that Project Sidewinder identified as being influenced or controlled by China had heavily donated to the Liberal Party, including Merrill Lynch Canada and Husky Energy. During this time Husky Energy was owned by CITIC co–founder Li Ka–Shing.
  • Chrétien once worked for Gordon Capital Inc., a company identified in Project Sidewinder as being influenced by China. Shortly after Chrétien left Gordon Capital Inc., the firm was purchased by Richard Li, the son of Li Ka–Shing.
  • 2003 – The Liberals were accused of pressuring the RCMP into dropping an investigation into the alleged corruption of embassy officials in Hong Kong. The Liberals refused to start a public inquiry demanded by Canadian Alliance MPs.
  • Former Liberal MP Geng Tan is reported to have worked for multiple organizations associated with the Chinese government. 
  • 2003 – Before Tan was elected to parliament, he was the president of a Chinese student association which was founded by the Chinese embassy.
  • 2013 – Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he admired China’s dictatorship.
    • “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”
  • 2015 – Former BC Liberal MLA Richard Lee was arrested while in Shanghai, his phone was searched and he was denied access to consular services. Lee alleges that the Trudeau government ignored his repeated letters asking for help or assistance.
  • 2015 – Former Ontario Liberal MPP and cabinet minister Michael Chan was accused of being influenced by the Chinese government. According to the Globe & Mail, Chan was once investigated by CSIS for his connections to the PRC. 
  • 2017 – As an MP, Tan was photographed meeting with officials from the United Front Work Department, a Chinese intelligence service that spies on foreign officials.
  • 2019 – Former Ontario Liberal MPP and cabinet minister Michael Chan spoke at a pro–Beijing rally in Toronto, claiming that pro–democracy Hong Kong demonstrators were working on behalf of foreign agents.
  • 2017 – Foreign Affairs Minister François–Philippe Champagne calls China a “beacon of stability, predictability, a rule–based system, a very inclusive society,” during an interview with a Chinese state–owned news outlet.
  • 2019 – Trudeau–appointed Senator Yuen Pau Woo gave a speech at a Chinese alumni event in Vancouver that people should “pray every night” that the Chinese regime does not collapse like the Soviet Union did.
  • 2019 – Former Liberal MP and ambassador to China John McCallum defends Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Meng is fighting extradition charges to the US.  McCallum appeared to agree with the communist Chinese government’s narrative that Meng was arrested for political reasons.
  • 2019 – Former Liberal MP and ambassador to China John McCallum advised Chinese officials not to hurt the Liberals’ chance of reelection. McCallum said the Conservatives would be harsher in holding China to account.
  • 2020 – Trudeau–appointed Senator Yuen Pau Woo gave a speech at an event hosted by a group connected to the Chinese government.
  • 2020 – Trudeau–appointed Chief Librarian and Archivist of Canada Leslie Weir accepted an all–expenses–paid trip to Beijing, sponsored by China, to attend a conference that celebrated “socialist culture.” 
  • 2020 – Chretien–appointed ambassador to China Howard Balloch praises former Chinese dictator Mao Zedong, saying he did “great things” during his murderous rule. Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution directly led to the deaths of at least 45 million people.

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