Loading articles...

Tories ask CSIS to probe ex-ambassador's comments about advice to China

John McCallum, ambassador to China, arrives for a cabinet meeting in Sherbrooke, Que., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Conservative MPs want Canada's intelligence agency to probe whether a former Canadian ambassador is encouraging China to interfere in the upcoming federal election. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

OTTAWA — Conservative MPs want Canada’s intelligence agency to probe whether a former Canadian ambassador is encouraging China to interfere in the upcoming federal election.

John McCallum, a former Liberal cabinet minister and ambassador to China from 2017 to 2019, recently told the South China Morning Post that he had warned China’s foreign ministry that more harmful actions against Canada would only help what he deems the less-China-friendly Conservative party get elected.

Deputy Conservative leader Lisa Raitt and public-security critic Pierre Paul-Hus say in a letter to Canadian Security Intelligence Service director David Vigneault that the comments are “very disturbing” and deserve the scrutiny of his agency.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday it is “highly inappropriate” for any Canadian to advise any foreign government how it could influence a Canadian election .

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sidestepped questions about McCallum at a news conference this morning, saying only that Freeland had addressed the matter.

He also did not answer a question about why Canada hasn’t yet appointed an ambassador to replace to McCallum in China, since he resigned in January after publicly breaking with the government’s position on the detentions of two Canadians.

The Canadian Press