British Columbia Premier David Eby says he’s “very troubled” by allegations of Chinese interference in Vancouver’s municipal elections last year and he’s asked Canada’s intelligence agency for a briefing.
Eby says Canadians deserve a “thorough and independent investigation” into the claims reported in the Globe and Mail newspaper this week that China’s consulate in Vancouver meddled in the municipal polls by using diaspora community groups and grooming certain candidates.
The premier says he’s asked for a “full briefing” by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service but he hasn’t received it yet.
The newspaper report cites CSIS documents, but Eby says he’s not in a position to comment on their credibility.
The report prompted Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim to say on Thursday that he was disgusted by its “insinuations,” and he wouldn’t be part of the conversation if he was Caucasian.
Eby says the majority of tools to fight international interference are in federal hands, but he needs to know if there’s any way for B.C. to “close any gaps” that the province may have available to it.
He says that, for example, Elections BC has already brought forward recommendations to combat misinformation.
“We’re always looking for ways to make sure our elections are free and fair,” Eby said at a news conference in Prince Rupert.
This week’s newspaper report says the CSIS documents do not name the consulate’s favoured mayoral and council contenders, but it wanted the incumbent Kennedy Stewart to lose.
Sim, Vancouver’s first Canadian mayor of Chinese descent, defeated Stewart by more than 36,000 votes.