MP Han Dong resigned from the Liberal caucus yesterday during a tearful address to the House.
Dong announced he would stay in the House of Commons as an independent MP, working to refute allegations that he conspired with Chinese officials to prolong the imprisonment of two Canadian citizens.
“Unverified and anonymous sources have attacked my reputation and called into question my loyalty to Canada,” said Dong. “What has been reported is false, and I will defend myself against these absolutely untrue claims.”
On Wednesday, Global News reported that Dong previously advised a Chinese consulate official to delay the release of two Canadians, Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor, in order to forward the interests of the Liberal party.
Global News cited two unnamed national security sources, which Dong said is inadequate evidence to support such serious allegations. Public debate has ensued, with Canadians weighing-in.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made no social media acknowledgement, opposition leader Pierre Poilievre took to Twitter, saying the allegations cement Canada’s need for a public inquiry about Chinese interference.
Many have called for a public inquiry to investigate Chinese interference even before news broke on Wednesday, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Singh reaffirmed that belief yesterday.
While many public figures are calling for an inquiry, they are using language that respects the fact that recent allegations against Dong are unverified.
Twitter user ‘Moom’ speaks to this dynamic in their response, saying such heavy allegations should require more proof or evidence before being taken seriously.
Former secretary to the prime minister, Gerald Butts, said the issue would be heinous if true.
Unnamed national security officials and multiple legacy media outlets this year have implicated Dong in several scandals, including reports that Chinese-Canadians were bussed into Dong’s election riding and coerced to vote in his favour.