China News

Top Officials Were Warned About Beijing Money Going to Candidates, Former Trudeau Adviser Confirms

A former top security adviser to the prime minister has confirmed the contents of media reports on a classified memo indicating the Chinese regime had provided money to federal candidates.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs David Morrison said on June 13 that he was the one who commissioned the memo when he was acting National Security and Intelligence Advisor (NSIA) in the summer of 2021.

He told MPs on the House of Commons Procedure and House Affairs Committee (PROC) that he couldn’t provide them with the intelligence assessment given its top secret classification, but said the contents had mostly already been published by Global News.

“A large clandestine transfer of funds earmarked for the federal election from the PRC [People’s Republic of China] Consulate in Toronto was transferred to an elected provincial government official via a staff member of a 2019 federal candidate,” reportedly says that assessment published by the Privy Council Office (PCO) in January 2022 and covered by Global News on March 8.

Global reported the PCO paper was produced by its Intelligence Assessment Secretariat and derived from 100 Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) reports.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and current NSIA Jody Thomas have said a number of times that they never saw Chinese money going to federal candidates.

Trudeau said in November last year that he was never briefed about “any federal candidates receiving money from China.”

“We’ve not seen money going to 11 candidates, period,” Thomas said in December 2022.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper told Morrison he had “conceded what the prime minister and this government have repeatedly denied and attempted to cover up.”

“Did that PCO memo, that January 2022 ‘Special Report,’ come to the attention of the prime minister?” asked Cooper.

Morrison said he left the NSIA role in early January 2022 before the assessment was finalized and hence couldn’t comment on whether it had been briefed to the prime minister. Thomas became NSIA that month.

PCO products are normally shared with senior officials and relevant departments.

PCO Alerted to Threats

More details from the PCO assessment were reported by Global in November 2022 and covered issues such as the Chinese regime placing agents in the offices of MPs and planning a campaign against MPs critical of Beijing. The latter refers directly to the controversy surrounding Beijing targeting MPs like Michael Chong.

“The intelligence also alleges that, in the aftermath of the House vote, Chinese intelligence agents conducted in-depth background research into MPs who voted in favour of the resolution declaring China guilty of genocide,” wrote Global.

This refers to the motion sponsored by Chong in February 2021 with regard to the Chinese regime’s treatment of Uyghurs.

That information had first been reported by CSIS, first through an issues management brief sent to the Department of Public Safety in May 2021, and then through an intelligence assessment released to relevant departments in the summer of 2021.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, who was also the public safety minister at the time, have both said they were never made aware of threats against MPs.

Morrison told MPs that he received the CSIS assessment in his role as NSIA on August 17, 2021, but decided it didn’t warrant informing the prime minister. But he said he found it interesting enough to commission the memo on the same topic.

Blair first blamed CSIS and a lack of access to a secure communications terminal for not being informed of the matter.

After CSIS Director David Vigneault testified before the committee on June 13 and said the issue had been properly highlighted to Public Safety through a note sent electronically, Blair told reporters on June 14 that the CSIS note had been sent to “another office.”

“Quite frankly if their intent was that I would actually have that information, my expectation would be that they would come brief me on it,” he said.

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