Erin O’Toole Reveals He Was Targeted By China Before 2021 Election

Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has revealed that he was targeted by a misinformation and voter-suppression operation conducted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the 2021 federal election in Canada. 

O’Toole made the revelation during a question of privilege in the House of Commons, stating that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) informed him of the foreign interference campaign.

“The CSIS briefing confirmed to me what I had long suspected — that my party, several of my parliamentary caucus members, and myself were the target of a Chinese orchestrated campaign of disinformation and voter suppression in the run-up to and during the 2021 general election,” the former Conservative leader said.

The threats identified by CSIS included Chinese funding of misinformation, an organized campaign of voter suppression, and the use of the Chinese-language social media platform WeChat to spread misinformation against O’Toole and the Conservative Party.

O’Toole has asked Speaker Anthony Rota to determine whether his privileges as a member of Parliament were violated by the government’s failure to address the intelligence related to foreign interference. 

He criticized the government for its inability to act on these threats and accused senior figures in the government of willful blindness. O’Toole, who is retiring from federal politics, is one of three opposition MPs who have been informed by CSIS that they were targeted by China due to their criticism of Beijing’s human rights abuses.

During the 2021 election, the Conservative Party’s platform included policies critical of China, such as establishing a foreign agents registry, banning Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure, and investigating the company’s role in human rights violations against the Uyghur people. 

O’Toole’s revelations come as the House of Commons debates an NDP motion to remove former governor-general David Johnston as the government’s special rapporteur and establish a public commission of inquiry into foreign interference.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended Johnston, describing him as an eminent Canadian who has served the government and the country for decades. Trudeau argued that the opposition parties were playing politics by calling for Johnston’s removal. 

Opposition MPs expressed concerns about Johnston’s independence and non-partisanship, citing his long-standing relationship with the Trudeau family and his hiring of a lawyer who has donated exclusively to the Liberal Party.

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