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Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre said it’s hard to believe that the spy agency would not warn the prime minister that the family of an MP was being threatened by a foreign actor.
“I can’t fathom the thought that an intelligence agency would know of a threat against an MP’s family because of a vote conducted in the House of Commons and wouldn’t tell the prime minister,” Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa on May 3.
The Globe and Mail reported on May 1 that the Chinese regime had sought to target Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family after a 2021 House of Commons vote declaring that the regime’s treatment of the minority Uyghurs is a genocide.
The report, based on a leaked Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) assessment, said that the Chinese intelligence service Ministry of State Security and a Chinese diplomat in Canada were involved.
Chong was subsequently briefed by CSIS Director David Vigneault on May 2 and said he was told that same information.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on May 3 that he had only learned about the threats against Chong this week from the media.
He said the information had never left CSIS, that it wasn’t briefed up, but that going forward intelligence agencies would need to advise on such threats even if it doesn’t meet their normal threshold.
“Even if it’s a less than threshold threat, according to their views, if it regards an MP or an MP’s family, it should be passed up going forward to a political level,” said Trudeau.
Poilievre was asked by a reporter how much faith he has in CSIS and he said the only way to answer that question is to hold a full public inquiry.
“We need to know how CSIS conducted itself and to what extent this has really been Justin Trudeau’s failure,” he said.
The Conservative leader also criticized that the Chinese diplomat involved, Zhao Wei, is still accredited and has not been expelled.
“If any one of you [journalists] were to threaten the family of an MP, because of a vote in the House of Commons, you’d be in jail. This guy is not only not in jail, he’s in Canada, with diplomatic immunity,” said Poilievre.
The Epoch Times asked Global Affairs Canada if any action would be taken against Zhao on May 1 but didn’t hear back.
CSIS was reached for comment but didn’t respond by publication time.