(TibetanReview.net, May30’23) – Amidst an ongoing political maelstrom over Beijing’s alleged interference in the 2019 and 2021 Federal elections, former Canadian Prime Minister sees China’s paramount leader as a greater, long-term threat to democracies around the world than Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported the hindustantimes.com May 27.
Both China and Russia have long been suspected to engage in trying to influence election outcomes in major Western democracies, especially the USA, in favour of parties and candidates seen as being more favourably inclined towards them.
Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister from 2006 to 2015, has made his observation while addressing a gathering in Vancouver organised by the think tank Fraser Institute.
“Xi Jinping (general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party) is a much more long-term, serious threat than Putin,” Harper has said.
He was reported to have said the Chinese leader’s ambition was to “create a new world order, a hub-and-spokes global economy where all authority is ultimately centred in Beijing.”
“I suspect it is far worse than we think.” he has said, referring to allegations of China’s interference in the 2019 and 2021 Federal elections in his country.
China had not “had any restriction in its behaviour in terms of interfering in the Canadian political system.”
Harper’s comments came days after the special rapporteur appointed by the Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to investigate Chinese interference in the elections stated that while foreign governments were attempting to influence voters and candidates, there was no need for a public inquiry.
The release of the report on Feb 23 by the independent special rapporteur, former Canadian Governor General David Johnston, met with criticism from the opposition which called it an exercise in “whitewashing”.
The special rapporteur was appointed on Mar 6 after a series of reports in the outlets Globe and Mail and Global News that Beijing may have tried to influence Federal elections in Canada.
Based on intelligence documents, the Globe and Mail had noted in a Feb 17 report, “China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals – but only to another minority government – and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.”
Harper left office in 2015, after the Conservative Party was defeated by the Trudeau-led Liberals that year.