Han Dong, a Liberal MP, has drawn attention in recent years because of his connections to the Chinese government. Some have even accused him of being a “Chinese stooge“ due to his alleged pro–China stance and his past affiliations with Chinese organizations.
To talk about his background, Han Dong was born in China and immigrated to Canada in 1993. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Don Valley North riding in Toronto in 2015, running as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and then he was re-elected in 2019.
Throughout his political career, Han Dong has been vocal about his support for China-Canada relations and the Chinese community in Canada. He has also been accused of accepting donations from Chinese-Canadian organizations with links to the Chinese government. Moreover, in 2017, Han Dong was also a member of a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians who visited China. While there, he reportedly attended a conference organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, a group with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
He also met with Chinese officials and business leaders, including Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group. Critics argue that Han Dong’s actions show that he is a “Chinese stooge” who is more loyal to the Chinese government than to Canada. They point to his past affiliations and his support for China-Canada relations as evidence of his alleged bias. According to recent reports, Dong privately advised a senior Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that Beijing should hold off freeing Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, according to two separate national security sources.
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Both sources said Dong allegedly suggested to Han Tao, China’s consul general in Toronto, that if Beijing released the “Two Michaels,” whom China accused of espionage, the Opposition Conservatives would benefit. Erin O’Toole, the leader of the Conservative Party at the time, attempted in vain to persuade Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to maintain a tough posture with Beijing throughout the year 2021 and to use the threat of sanctions to obtain Kovrig and Spavor’s release. Thereby, their release would have been attributed to the Conservative leader’s tireless efforts.
Dong, however, also recommended that Beijing show some progress in the Kovrig and Spavor cases, the two sources said. Such a move would help the ruling Liberal Party, which was facing an uproar over China’s inhumane treatment of Kovrig and Spavor. At the time of the conversation between Dong and the Chinese diplomat, Canadians were outraged that Spavor and Kovrig were held captive in secret Chinese prisons without due legal process and denied basic rights such as consular access. Thus, humane treatment by the Chinese and not a pure release would have served the Liberal electoral interests.
This is not the first time that reports of Chinese interference in Canadian elections have emerged. In 2018, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) issued a warning that foreign interference in Canadian elections was a “real and active” threat, with China cited as one of the countries of concern. This warning came after a number of incidents, including cyberattacks on Canadian government networks and reports of Chinese attempts to influence Canadian media and public opinion.
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In 2019, there were also reports of Chinese interference in the Canadian federal election, with allegations that some Chinese-Canadian groups were supporting certain political parties and candidates. In particular, there were concerns that the Chinese government may have been seeking to influence the election in favor of the Liberal Party of Canada, which has been seen as more open to engaging with China than some other parties.
The dialogue between Dong and Consul General Han demonstrates how political meddling can influence people, in addition to institutions, in this case with two lives at risk.
Thus it’s quite clear that Trudeau is obsessed with winning elections, even if it means endangering the lives of regular Canadians. It is clear that Han Dong and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were willing to sacrifice the interests of average Canadians in order to pursue their own electoral ambitions. Unfortunately, it is the everyday Canadians that have paid the price for their actions, as they were the ones who were left without the representation they deserved.
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