Foreign interference allegations are not limited to China. Recent reports of Russian interference have also surfaced. Politics is always a messy business. With identity politics, it will get even messier.
By Sheila Copps
First published in The Hill Times on March 20, 2023.
OTTAWA—Surprise, surprise: the first political casualty of the Chinese interference allegations was an Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP. Vincent Ke resigned last week from the PC caucus, despite characterizing the allegations as “false and defamatory.”
Ke tweeted his departure. “While the Global News allegations about me are false and defamatory, I do not want to be a distraction to the government and take away from the good work Premier Ford is doing for the province of Ontario.”
Global has been at the forefront of leaked stories about financial links between the Chinese government and Chinese-Canadian members of parliament.
Leaks are reported to be coming from inside the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The RCMP has been investigating the leak’s source, according to other news reports.
During last year’s provincial election, the Ontario Provincial Police was asked by the Liberal Party of Ontario to investigate the incorporation of 15 companies or associations associated with Ke.
Ke established the corporations after his election to the legislature in 2018.
At the time, Ontario Premier Doug Ford defended Ke, saying that several incorporations included non-profit cultural associations.
Ford defended his MPP’s exit last week in a statement. “Not proven, they [allegations] are serious and deserve his full and undivided attention as he works to clear his name.”
Identity politics will also take centre stage in upcoming federal investigations into electoral foreign interference.
By choosing former governor-general David Johnston to head a probe into foreign meddling, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has managed to secure an individual with impeccable credentials.
Appointed governor general by then-prime minister Stephen Harper, Johnston managed to secure broad public support during his seven-year tenure.
However, his nomination was criticized by the Conservatives because, after retirement, he volunteered for the Trudeau Foundation.
Johnston has his work cut out for him. Foreign interference allegations are not limited to China.
Recent reports of Russian interference have also surfaced.
Politics is always a messy business.
With identity politics, it will get even messier.
Sheila Copps is a former Jean Chrétien-era cabinet minister and a former deputy prime minister. Follow her on Twitter at @Sheila_Copps.