President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Thursday for two days of discussions on a range of topics, but both men face Chinese-manufactured crises at home that they may be keen to escape.
“Justin Trudeau had been claiming for months that he had not been briefed by the [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] (CSIS) about Chinese interference in Canadian elections,” Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), told Fox News Digital in a statement. “We’ve learned recently through leaks by a CSIS agent that this wasn’t true of course.”
Biden and Trudeau each face allegations of appearing either soft or having potentially problematic connections to China: Biden faces accusations from the House Oversight Committee that his family received more than $1.3 million in collective payments through one of Hunter Biden’s associates who worked with a Chinese energy company. Hunter Biden is the president’s son.
Meanwhile, a CSIS report about Chinese election meddling leaked to Canadian outlet The Globe and Mail indicated that China interfered in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. Beijing tried to ensure that Trudeau’s Liberal party candidates secured seats over Conservative politicians, whom it deemed unfriendly.
Trudeau waited two weeks to announce a probe into the allegations. China denies all allegations of interference, saying it has no interest in meddling with Canada’s internal affairs.
When asked if Biden and Trudeau plan to discuss the China election meddling allegations, the White House did not respond by time of publication. Trudeau’s spokesperson said that he had nothing to add to his remarks made before yesterday’s “Question Period” TV show.
Biden will aim to express unity on Ukraine and the environment but is unlikely to make much progress on tougher trade disputes, sources said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
“[Trudeau’s] doing everything he can to stall any investigation,” Bernier said. “That includes resisting sending his chief of staff, [Katie] Telford, to testify because she will have to spin some BS to try and reconcile the truth with her boss’ claims, and this will embarrass them further.”
“It also includes, of course, naming a family friend and member of the Trudeau Foundation, David Johnston, as ‘special rapporteur’ to take two months to determine if a full investigation into Chinese interference is warranted or not, which we expect will be the latter,” he continued. “It’s always the same pattern with Trudeau.”
David Stilwell, an advisory board member of the Vandenberg Coalition who previously served as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that Canada is not the only country China targets with these operations.
“[Chinese President] Xi Jinping isn’t going after only candidates,” Stilwell told Fox News Digital. “They’re doing this in every other democratic, open-media government through bots and cyber and all that.”
“What is he trying to do? Does he favor Trudeau over his opponent? Does he favor Biden over Trump? No, he doesn’t really care,” Stilwell said. “All the Chinese tactics here seems to do is to create chaos and anger and division and discontent.”
He referred to Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War,” describing China’s approach as “entropic warfare” – seeking to create chaos within a state to divide it and pit its different parts against each other rather than an outside force.
“What that means is you send in spies, agents, bribes into the enemy country to do exactly what we’re saying is to create the conditions for civil war,” Stilwell explained. “Then the adversary state begins fighting itself. Once they’re done fighting and are exhausted, you just walk in and take over.”
Trudeau’s close adviser, Telford, will speak on the week of April 10 on what she and the prime minister knew about Chinese interference and what they did to stop it, according to The Globe and Mail.
Stilwell noted that whatever it is the procedure and House affairs committee hopes to learn from the testimony could be just as easily gleaned from the book “Silent Invasion,” which looked at similar action China took in Australia.
Aurel Braun, professor of international relations and political science at the University of Toronto, agreed that what China is doing is “nothing new” and that the Canadian people and government simply want to know: “Did we do enough about it?”
“We are a G-7 state. We are a member of NATO. We are part of NORAD. We’re the second-largest territory in the world. We are an advanced industrialized state. We have vast natural resources, so we are a significant player in the international system,” Braun said. “It should not be unusual that countries would pay attention to what Canada is doing or have an interest in domestic politics in Canada.”
Braun noted that China seeks to compete with the West – specifically with the United States – and will use political influence or economic predominance or systemic industrial espionage to surpass its rivals.
The issue, he argued, is that Canada in particular has been slow to respond to China’s threat and “should have [been] quicker in taking certain steps.”
“The problem is perception, and the perception is fatal,” he continued. “Consequently, it would have been appropriate to set up an independent commission where there would be representations from various parties on it, and that would have been better at restoring confidence.”