A former senior intelligence official has called for jail time for those involved in Chinese interference in Canadian elections and democracy, saying their actions amount to treason.

Yesterday, the former chief of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) with the Asia-Pacific desk, Michel Juneau-Katsuya, testified before the House of Commons house affairs committee that the allegations detail actions that are “close to treason.”   

“(There needs to be) jail time because we’re close to treason here, literally. So I say jail time now, the size of the jail time would be judged by jurisprudence and by our system but definitely jail time,” said Juneau-Katsuya.

His comments come after a Global News report revealed that CSIS had briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several cabinet ministers in January 2023 that China had covertly funded 11 mainly-Liberal party candidates in the 2019 federal election and tried to infiltrate the offices of MPs.

Trudeau has admitted that China tried to interfere in Canadian elections but has insisted Canadians were the ones who decided on his re-election in the two recent federal elections.

According to media reports citing anonymous intelligence sources, China had a preference for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the 2021 Canadian election and tried to undermine the Conservative Party, which was seen as being unfriendly to Beijing’s interests. 

Additionally, intelligence sources show that Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family in Hong Kong was targeted by a Chinese diplomat over the MPs criticism of China’s human rights record. The House of Commons has recently voted to undergo a study into the intimidation campaign. 

Juneau-Katsuya also stated on Thursday that China’s foreign election interference has been happening since at least the 1980s. 

“I want to be very clear. We can prove that every federal government from Mr. Mulroney to Mr. Trudeau (has) been compromised by agents of Communist China. Every government was informed at one point or another. Every government chose to ignore CSIS warnings,” said Juneau-Katsuya. 

“We’ve known for the last 30 years. We warned the prime minister. We warned the cabinet about all those things, and people for self-serving interests or partisanship or by negligence, neglected to take action.”