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Conservative MP says feds did not brief him on alleged threats to his family in China

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OTTAWA -

Conservative member of Parliament Michael Chong says Ottawa should have informed him about potential threats to his family made by China's government two years ago.

The MP released a statement after the Globe and Mail reported, citing a top-secret document and an anonymous national security source, that China's intelligence service sought to target the MP and his family and that a Chinese diplomat who remains in Canada was involved.

Chong, a former cabinet minister, currently serves as the Tories' foreign-affairs critic and routinely criticizes the regime in Beijing for its human-rights record and its alleged attempts to meddle in Canada's affairs.

In February 2021, he voted in favour of a motion condemning China's treatment of its Uyghur minority as a genocide. The following month, China sanctioned Chong, barring him from entering the county and prohibiting Chinese citizens from conducting business with him.

Chong said in a statement Monday that like other Canadians, he has family in Hong Kong -- and any efforts to threaten them in an attempt to intimidate or coerce people in Canada constitutes a national threat.

"It undermines social cohesion, and our cherished fundamental rights and freedoms," Chong said in a statement.

Chong said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service never briefed him about any threats made against him or his family, adding he believes that is because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not authorize such a warning.

"The Trudeau government continuing to accredit and allow a (Chinese) diplomat to remain in Canada to target my family abroad demonstrates a complete lack of leadership and common decency."

Trudeau's office and the security agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment and The Canadian Press has not independently verified the allegations published in the Globe and Mail.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was pressed on the matter during question period in the House of Commons Monday, said the situation was "absolutely unacceptable" and told MPs he has asked officials to follow up on the reports.

"This is absolutely unacceptable, and it shouldn't have happened," Trudeau said.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre urged Trudeau to expel the diplomat in question and accused the government of failing to take proper action, including delivering a warning to Chong.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2023.

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