British Columbia Premier David Eby has asked for a briefing from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), saying he is “very troubled” by reports of Beijing’s alleged interference in Vancouver’s 2022 municipal election.
Eby said on March 17 that Canadians deserve a “thorough and independent investigation” into the claims made in a Globe and Mail article that cited a secret CSIS report showing how China’s then-consul-general, Tong Xiaoling, orchestrated some in the local Chinese community to help elect a mayor and a city councillor favoured by the Chinese Communist Party.
Eby said he is not in a position to comment on the credibility of the Globe article and the cited CSIS report. He noted that he has asked for a “full briefing” by CSIS but has not received it yet.
The Globe article said the CSIS document, dated Jan. 10, 2022, didn’t give names of either the mayoral or the councillor candidate. The article generated criticism from Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, whose triumph over incumbent Mayor Kennedy Stewart by over 36,000 votes in the 2022 municipal race was mentioned.
Sim, Vancouver’s first mayor of Chinese descent, said his ethnicity is a factor behind the allegations, which he described as a “bunch of insinuations” at a March 16 press conference. The Epoch Times reached out to Sim for comment but didn’t hear back by publication time.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also came to Sim’s defence when asked about the report on Chinese interference in the Vancouver election.
“I think we have to be very, very careful when little bits and pieces of uncorroborated, unverified information get put out and people instantly react with perspectives and reactions that can undermine the ability of the duly elected mayor of Vancouver to do his job, and undermine people in Vancouver’s faith in the integrity of their elections, of their processes, and of the person who is serving them at the highest level,” he said at a press conference on March 17.
Fighting Foreign Interference
Eby said the federal government holds most of the tools to fight foreign interference, but that he needs to know if there’s any way that B.C. could “close the gaps.”
He said that, for example, Elections BC had already brought forward recommendations to combat misinformation.
“We’re always looking for ways to make sure our elections are free and fair,” Eby said at a press conference in Prince Rupert.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said that a series of recent media reports based on leaked CSIS documents indicates that Canada’s intelligence community has lost trust in the Liberal government’s ability to handle foreign interference
“There’s an open revolt against the prime minister,” Poilievre said at a press conference on March 17. “I think our intelligence community is very worried about what the prime minister is covering up and keeping secret. He’s putting his own partisan interest ahead of our national interest.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.