OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Liberal MP Han Dong is loyal to Canada, defending him Monday in response to a media report that said he was helped by the Chinese consulate while running to be the party's candidate in a Toronto-area riding in 2019.
He also said it's not up to Canada's spy agency to "dictate to political parties who can or cannot run" in elections.
A Global News report last week cited anonymous sources alleging the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had urged senior Liberal party staff to rescind Dong's nomination, but that Trudeau approved his candidacy.
That and other reports about Chinese interference in Canadian elections have led opposition parties to call for a public inquiry into foreign election interference — something Trudeau has rejected.
The prime minister did not directly answer a question Monday about whether CSIS warned the Liberal party about Dong's alleged involvement with China before the 2019 election.
A parliamentary committee is set to hear from national intelligence adviser Jody Thomas and the deputy minister of foreign affairs, David Morrison, this week.
Dong, who was re-elected in 2021, said his nomination and campaign teams have found no indication of irregularities or compliance issues regarding his candidacy or election.
He said all procedures and processes related to his campaign and political career have been continually, transparently and publicly reported as required.
"Safeguarding Canada's democracy is integral to public service," Dong said in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday.
"I will support all fact-based efforts from parliamentarians to investigate alleged offshore interference and if called upon look forward to refuting these anonymous and unverified allegations."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Global News reported that Liberal MP Han Dong was allegedly helped by the Chinese consulate in the 2019 federal election.