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Former MP Kenny Chiu: Watchdog Investigates Suspected Foreign Interference in 2021 BC Election

The Commissioner of Canada Elections (CCE) is investigating a complaint of foreign interference related to the 2021 election in British Columbia’s Steveston—Richmond East, according to a former MP who lost the race in the riding.

Former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, who lost his seat in the 2021 election due to an alleged disinformation campaign by the Chinese regime, revealed the CCE’s investigation in an interview with The Globe and Mail, published on Jan. 26.

Mr. Chiu said he was interviewed twice in 2023 by staff from the commissioner’s office. These interviews took place at a hotel located in Richmond, B.C., involving investigators who said they were former RCMP officers, the Globe reported. Additionally, Mr. Chiu reported that CCE staff have visited the Steveston—Richmond East riding at least three times.

During the interviews, Mr. Chiu said, he was asked about his interactions with different communities in the Greater Vancouver area, specifically the Chinese Canadian community. In response, Mr. Chiu reported facing criticism from individuals allegedly aligned with Beijing due to his sponsorship of a motion condemning the regime’s repression of the Uyghur minority and his involvement in monitoring local Hong Kong elections in 2019.

Speaking to The Epoch Times during the 2021 election, Mr. Chiu said he had previously been a target of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) misinformation, but the efforts against him that year had “been exceptional.”
Mr. Chiu is a proponent of a foreign agent registry, and introduced private member’s bill C-282. The bill aims to compel individuals working on behalf of foreign entities to register, seeking to enhance transparency surrounding their activities.

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Disinformation targeting Mr. Chiu, many of which circulated on the Chinese social media platform Weixin, disseminated claims that his proposed registry targeted all individuals of Chinese origin in Canada. An article reviewed by The Epoch Times stated that the bill would “suppress the Chinese community” in Canada.


“These rules are intended to protect the presumption of innocence and to avoid compromising ongoing reviews or investigations,” she said in an email statement to The Epoch Times.

Ms. Croussette added that the CCE is “aware that allegations of foreign interference can have a significant impact on the confidence that Canadians place in our democratic process.” She also pointed to Commissioner Caroline Simard’s revelation of her office’s efforts in addressing the matter.

Following widespread reports of the CCP’s meddling in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections, Ms. Simard told the House Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in March 2023 that her office was conducting “a rigorous and thorough review” concerning the allegations of foreign interference.
However, in an annual report released on Sept. 12, 2023, the CCE noted that the term “foreign interference” is absent from the Canada Elections Act. The report noted that, due to the Act’s definition of the commissioner’s mandate, the CCE “may only review allegations covered by the contraventions provided for in the Act.”

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs of the University of Ottawa, applauded the CCE’s decision to investigate foreign interference that allegedly led to Mr. Chiu’s defeat.

“I’m so glad to learn that the Commissioner of Canada Elections is still investigating Kenny Chiu’s election loss. This is the worst in a string of election results that used disinformation (ie lies) to try to defeat candidates not fully on board [with] Beijing’s [speaking points],” she wrote on the social media platform X.

Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference

In a previous interview with The Epoch Times, Mr. Chiu raised concerns about the preparation of the public inquiry, including the limited time for application and the granting of standing to individuals accused of ties to the Chinese regime. These factors have raised concerns about the inquiry’s effectiveness.

“It’s going to be skin-deep, it’s going to be ocean-wide,” he said of the inquiry, noting that the commissioner will be examining potential foreign interference from other malign actors in addition to China.

Omid Ghoreishi contributed to this report.

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