Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is warning of election interference by China. Trudeau says that foreign interference in elections is a very serious issue and his country must be on guard against it.
His statement comes after a media report detailing China’s intentions to influence the outcome of the 2021 election.
Relations between the two countries have been increasingly strained after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down over North American airspace earlier this month.
Last week, the Globe and Mail newspaper cited top-secret Canadian spy agency documents that claimed Chinese diplomats and their proxies worked to defeat Conservative politicians that were considered more hostile to Beijing.
According to The Straits Times, the Globe also noted that the documents showed that China favoured the re-election of Trudeau, albeit with a parliamentary minority. That outcome ended up being accurate.
“This is an extraordinarily serious issue…. we are seeing systematic attempts at interference by countries like China and Russia and others who want to destabilise democracies.”
“Everyone should be worried about the fact that countries like China and Russia and others are continually trying to spread misinformation and disinformation, trying to interfere in our elections unsuccessfully, so far.”
Trudeau went on to caution against falling into ‘partisan traps.’
Meanwhile, Conservative Pierre Poilievre, the leader of Canada’s main opposition party, accused Trudeau of ignoring Chinese interference and benefitting from it.
But, Trudeau shot down the accusations.
“Amplifying and giving reasons to mistrust the outcome of an election… is not a good path to go down for society or for democracy.”
Ottawa also confirmed that it was aware of other air and maritime surveillance attempts by China that were caught by the Canadian military. The statements come after The Globe reported that Chinese floating devices were found in the Arctic in autumn.
A Canadian defence ministry spokesman declined to give details but did say that authorities were aware of Chinese surveillance attempts.
But, he says the forces had successfully stopped surveillance attempts since last year.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi accused the US handling of the balloon incident of being “unimaginable” and “hysterical,” an “absurd” act that had violated international norms.
Just today, the US Department of Defence released a selfie taken by a US fighter pilot in mid-air with one of three alleged Chinese spy balloons. The picture went viral and apparently went down in history with the Pentagon.
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