Hong Kong Canadians are asking why Liberal candidate for the Markham-Thornhill riding, Mary Ng, chose a campaign co-chair with ties to the Chinese government.
Their concerns stem from her position as an MP responsible for promoting trade with China and her connection to Michael Chan, a former minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade in Ontario’s Wynne government, according to a Global News exclusive.
It was revealed in June that Michael Chan would be her co-chair. This has sparked controversy as Chan was previously investigated by Canada’s intelligence agency (CSIS) for the alleged possibility of being an agent for China.
According to a 2015 Globe and Mail report, Chan maintained close ties to the Chinese consulate in Toronto while a minister and was at risk of influence from associates in China. According to the report he’s also been “a mentor to a cadre of provincial and federal Liberals running for office, which has triggered both criticism and trepidation among pro-democratic community members.”
“Michael Chan is known to be very close to China, and according to news reports, he was accused of being accessible to Chinese Communist Party influence,” said Ringo Wong, a Markham-Thornhill constituent. “Having him as a key organizer of (Ng’s) campaign worries me.”
Chan has also come out in favour of China’s absolute rule and one-China policy, saying that he supports Hong Kong police’s strict measures to quash the protests and maintain a unified China.
The riding which Ng is running for is densely populated by Chinese Canadians, both for and against the pro-Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, and tensions have been steadily rising between the two groups. As such, the group Torontonians Stand With Hong Kong have been vigilant in investigating the relations that their representative may have.
Global News attempted to contact Ng regarding her connection with Chan and potential pro-Beijing sentiments, but she was unavailable. However, her campaign responded by saying that Chan was never an active member of the campaign, despite originally accepting the request to be co-chair.
Ng was also asked by Wong why she attended a People’s Republic of China 70th-anniversary celebration on Sept. 29 when she could potentially become a Canadian government minister.
While inquiries from Global News remained fruitless, this critique did prompt a response from Ng.
“I would point out, also in attendance was the Conservative Party of Canada Candidate for Markham-Thornhill,” Ng responded. “As the Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill, one of Canada’s most diverse ridings, it is important to support inclusiveness in our community. As a proud Canadian, I will always celebrate the many cultural traditions and heritages that make up this wonderful riding.”
Correction: The initial version of this article incorrectly stated Hong Kong Canadians were accusing Mary Ng of having close ties to China. They were instead questioning her hiring Michael Chan, who has been accused in the past of being an agent for the Chinese government. The Post Millennial regrets the error.