Canada Confronts China Over Election Meddling

During a rare meeting, Canada's Defence Minister Bill Blair warned China against interfering in Canada's elections and institutions. He also expressed concerns over Chinese military actions around Taiwan and mentioned ongoing diplomatic tensions with India related to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Reuters | Updated: 01-06-2024 13:56 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 13:56 IST
Canada Confronts China Over Election Meddling

Canada warned China against meddling in its elections during a rare meeting of the countries' defence chiefs, its defence minister said on Saturday.

"I raised the concern of foreign interference in all the manifestations that it might take, including interference in our institutions, including our elections, but also actions of collusion against the Chinese diaspora in Canada, our citizens," Defence Minister Bill Blair told Reuters, referring to his conversation with Chinese counterpart Dong Jun. Canada's domestic spy agency said in April that China had interfered in the last two elections as part of an official probe into election meddling. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Last year, Ottawa said a Conservative legislator with family in Hong Kong had been the target of an online disinformation operation. The government expelled a senior Chinese diplomat after an intelligence report accused him of trying to target the legislator. Blair said he had also expressed concern about Chinese military action around Taiwan since the island's January presidential election during his meeting with Jun, held on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue defence summit in Singapore.

The minister said Canada would increase its presence in Asia and was engaging with India to "address issues of disagreement". Diplomatic relations soured after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year said Canada was "actively pursuing credible allegations" that Indian agents were potentially linked to the June 2023 murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen.

Canada charged three Indian nationals for the killing last month. "There can't be any toleration for the territorial murder of Canadian citizens on Canadian soil," Blair said. "But I think (the charges) has created the circumstances where we can begin to address issues of disagreement and some of the concerns that India has also expressed to us."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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