China’s interference in Canada’s past elections to get a Liberal government re-elected is receiving widespread international attention.
On Monday, while debating proposed changes to Australia’s referendum law, the country’s Senate frequently made reference to the election interference intelligence reports coming out of Canada.
Australian Liberal Party Senator James Paterson highlighted reports indicating that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s re-election was the “most preferred” result for Beijing.
“The most recent case study that we have is from Canada, where leaked documents from the Canadian intelligence agency set out pretty clearly what the Chinese Communist Party’s objectives were in intervening in previous Canadian elections,” said Paterson.
“What I thought was most interesting from those leaked documents was the assessment by the Canadian intelligence community that the outcome the Chinese government most preferred wasn’t just the re-election of the Trudeau government but the re-election of the Trudeau government in minority.”
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) leaks first reported by the Globe and Mail reveal how China saw another Trudeau term as the ideal outcome.
The reports quoted one unnamed state agent saying that Beijing likes it “when the parties in Parliament are fighting with each other, whereas if there is a majority, the party in power can easily implement policies that do not favour” China.
Leaks also indicate that up to 11 candidates, mostly Liberal, benefited from Chinese government interference.
Paterson and other Senators also highlighted how China sought to exacerbate divisions and polarization in Canada via election interference.
“In Canada, their intelligence agencies uncovered plots to interfere in their 2021 election in order to create a minority government,” said Senator James McGrath.
“This is one of a long list of foreign influence campaigns that have been revealed publicly not just in North America but in Europe and elsewhere. We are not immune.”
Trudeau’s decision last week to appoint former governor general David Johnston as a chief investigator into Chinese election interference claims has caused a stir, considering his links to the Trudeau Foundation which had to return a large donation found to be tainted by Chinese influence.