Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed on Wednesday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) withheld information regarding Chinese threats against a Canadian lawmaker, Michael Chong, and his family in 2021.
Trudeau said that he had instructed the agency to disclose such threats immediately in the future. The CSIS had deemed the information about the threats against Chong, a member of the opposition Conservative party, not serious enough to warrant informing him.
Chong discovered the threat to his family in Hong Kong through a newspaper and criticized the Trudeau government for not taking action. The Globe and Mail, citing a CSIS report, revealed that Beijing sought information about Chong’s relatives who might be in China, likely aiming to “make an example of this MP and deter others from taking anti-PRC positions.”
Trudeau noted that he learned about the threats against Chong from the Globe report and discovered upon inquiry that CSIS had chosen to withhold the information. In response to the situation, Trudeau emphasized the need for intelligence officials to elevate concerns about MPs and their families. Chong, speaking after Trudeau, questioned the Prime Minister’s Office’s handling of the situation if federal ministers were unaware of the CSIS assessment. He called on the government to provide clarity on who knew what and when, and what actions were taken.
This comes after Chong was sanctioned by China after his motion passed in the Canadian parliament, declaring China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority a genocide.