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Justin Trudeau revealed that China attempted to interfere in Canada’s elections but ultimately failed to influence the outcomes.

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In the midst of an ongoing investigation into alleged foreign interference in Canadian elections, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured the public that despite attempts by other countries, the electoral process remained “free and fair”. Trudeau disclosed that China had endeavored to meddle in the last two Canadian elections, but their efforts did not alter the outcomes, emphasizing that it was “unlikely” Beijing had a preference for any particular party, as reported by Reuters.

The investigation, initiated in response to concerns raised by opposition lawmakers, primarily examined reports indicating potential Chinese interference in both the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections.

During the 2021 campaign, Erin O’Toole, the former leader of the Conservative Party, suggested that Chinese interference might have impacted up to nine seats, although it did not sway the overall election results.

Nonetheless, Trudeau’s Liberal Party secured victories in both the 2019 and 2021 elections.

“Despite attempts by foreign states to interfere, the integrity of those elections remained intact. They were determined by Canadians,” Erin O’Toole remarked, as quoted by Reuters.

Trudeau noted that he had not received any evidence suggesting Chinese officials in Canada favored a Liberal minority government in 2021 due to their perception that minority governments would have less influence in passing anti-China policies.

“While individual Chinese officials may have expressed preferences, the impression we consistently received was that it would be highly unlikely for the Chinese government itself to have a stake in the election,” Trudeau stated.

EVIDENCE AND DENIAL OF CHINESE INTERVENTION

Canada’s domestic intelligence agency presented evidence indicating covert and misleading interference by China in both elections, leading to heightened tensions between the two nations.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Canada vehemently denied these accusations, accusing Trudeau of “slandering” China during the inquiry proceedings and asserting that “China strongly condemns and firmly opposes” such claims.

The spokesperson criticized some politicians for attempting to attribute blame to China during the investigation, emphasizing the lack of clear evidence in the testimony.

“China has never shown any interest in interfering in Canada’s internal affairs,” the Chinese spokesperson reiterated.

Beijing has consistently denied any involvement in Canadian affairs and reiterated its lack of interest in such actions.

The elections occurred against the backdrop of strained relations between Canada and China, triggered by the arrest of a Huawei Technologies executive in Canada followed by the detention of two Canadians in China on espionage charges. All three individuals were released in 2021.

Despite these tensions, the elections proceeded, with Trudeau’s Liberal Party emerging victorious on both occasions.

The commission is expected to release an initial report by May 3, with the final report slated for completion by the end of 2024, according to Reuters.

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