Mon. Nov 21st, 2022

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story supersedes an earlier article by The Canadian Press published on November 20, 2022, providing additional information and context on the Prime Minister’s comments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has not received any information about federal election candidates who allegedly received funding from China in the 2019 federal election.

“I don’t have any information, nor have I been informed that some federal candidates are receiving money from China,” he told a Global News reporter in Tunis on Sunday.

His response stems from a Global News report — which appeared Nov. 7 — about alleged Chinese interference that Canadian intelligence officials warned Trudeau about early last January.

Global News reported that intelligence memos warned Trudeau and several unidentified cabinet ministers that the Chinese consulate in Toronto was organizing a network to interfere in the 2019 election. Intelligence said the consulate earmarked a significant sum of money that was transferred to an unidentified federal election staff member, who then sent the amount to an unnamed Ontario MLA.

The story continues below the ad

Separate sources familiar with the 2022 filings told Global News that the elected official subsequently paid the amount to other members of the network, which included at least 11 unidentified candidates and 13 election staff members, according to intelligence memos.

Those same sources, Global News reported, claimed that the middleman facilitated the transfer of funds amounting to about $250,000 to the concerned MPP and federal election staff.

Some, but not all, of those candidates and employees were affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, the intelligence memos said, according to information obtained by Global News.

The alleged scheme was done to advance Beijing’s political agenda, according to the intelligence memos.

While the opposition Conservatives called on Trudeau to identify 11 candidates believed to be recipients of campaign funds, Global News only reported that the candidates were part of the alleged network. There is no evidence that Chinese officials ever directly funded their candidacies.

When asked what other possible briefings or information he had received about alleged Chinese interference in the 2019 election, Trudeau was less specific.

“These media reports … We have asked our security officials to follow up on them,” Trudeau said.

“I have asked them to provide any information that they can share with the parliamentary committee that is looking into it. Again, let me be very clear. I have no information.”

The story continues below the ad

The prime minister was wrapping up a 10-day trip, which included the G20 summit where he clashed with Chinese President Xi over an alleged breach of diplomatic etiquette. Xi accused Trudeau of leaking their private conversation on the sidelines, which in part had to do with Trudeau’s concerns over allegations of Chinese meddling.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.