Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday accused China and other countries of trying to interfere with Canadian democracy and playing “aggressive games” with the country’s institutions and other democracies.
Trudeau’s comments come hours after Canadian media revealed that the country’s intelligence services believe that China has launched an interference campaign that included funding at least 2019 candidates for deputy in the general election of 2019.
Trudeau said that Canada has taken steps to “enhance the integrity of the electoral process” and that the country will continue to invest to combat foreign electoral interference.
“Unfortunately, we see countries and state actors around the world, whether China or others, continue to play aggressive games with our institutions, with our democracies, and that’s why we are creating new tools”, he explained.
“The world is changing. in some cases, frighteningly. We have to ensure that those who are in charge of keeping us safe every day are able to do so, so we will continue to invest in some of these necessary tools and resources,” he argued.
The broadcaster Canadian television station “Global News” reported that in January intelligence services informed Trudeau of a campaign launched by China that includes paying candidates affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, as well as deploying agents in the offices of Canadian deputies to gain influence.
Diplomatic relations between Canada and China are going through one of their worst moments since December 2018, when Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese national who is the financial director of Huawei and daughter of the founder of the Chinese technology company, at the request of the United States.
Immediately after Meng’s arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Beijing authorities also retaliated economically against Canada for Meng’s arrest while Ottawa multiplied its complaints against China for human rights violations.
Meng was under house arrest in Canada until September of
, when China and the US reached an agreement and Washington withdrew its extradition request for the director of Huawei. At the same time that Meng returned to China, Beijing released Spavor and Kovrig.
Despite the release of Meng, Spavor and Kovrig, diplomatic relations between Canada and China have not returned to normal. Last week, the Canadian government announced that it will force three Chinese companies to sell their stakes in Canadian mining companies because it considers their presence a threat to national security.