Lawmaker says Canada govt did not inform him of report of China's threats to family

FILE PHOTO: Conservative Party Leadership candidate Michael Chong, addresses crowd at the Conservative Party of Canada's final televised debate.

By Ismail Shakil

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Michael Chong, a lawmaker with Canada's main opposition Conservative party, said on Monday that the country's spy agency did not inform him about threats against him and his family from China that were reported in a Canadian newspaper.

Chong said he was "profoundly disappointed" to find out about the potential threat to his family in Hong Kong from a newspaper, which cited intelligence reports from 2021.

The Globe and Mail reported on Monday that Beijing had sought information about a Canadian lawmaker's relatives who may be in China in a likely effort to "make an example of this MP and deter others from taking anti-PRC positions."

The lawmaker, who was not named in the report produced by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), is Chong, the newspaper reported on Monday, citing a national security source.

"While I have been briefed by CSIS about foreign interference threat activities, these briefings did not provide any information about this individual and specific threats to me or my family," Chong said in a statement.

Chong said the government should have informed him of the CSIS report, and that the diplomat responsible for the "intimidation campaign" should be expelled from Canada.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chong had been sanctioned by Beijing in 2021 after his motion passed the Canadian parliament declaring China's treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority genocide.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to see anyone being intimidated, especially a member of parliament in this house," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday.

Trudeau said he had asked officials to follow up on the report, and to "get to the bottom of this."

Canadian media outlets have published several reports, citing anonymous intelligence sources, alleging schemes run by the Chinese government to interfere in Canada's last two elections. Beijing has denied those allegations, saying it has no interest in interfering in Canada's internal affairs.

Trudeau has previously said China attempted to meddle in the 2019 and 2021 votes, but did not change the outcome. He has appointed an independent special investigator to probe the allegations.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; editing by Jonathan Oatis)