Conservatives, the Media and CCP Psy-Ops.
Weekend Special: Who to trust?
Concluding the effort that began May 8 with Real Story Series: Diplomat, Socialite, Spy, we left off yesterday with the horrible fate that befell the Federation for a Democratic China and its vice-president, Sheng Xue, whose warnings to the House of Commons about Beijing’s influence operations in Canada, 17 years ago, were ignored.
I highlighted Sheng’s November 21, 2006 testimony to a House of Commons committee in my May 3 column in the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen, Have we finally reached a tipping point in Chinese interference?, after which I took a brief break from newspapering that ended this past week with David Johnston escapes inquiry into his own China dealings.
In sum, the mayhem that engulfed Sheng and her federation was what Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s regional director for East Asia, called “a textbook destabilization of the exile movement.”
This edition of The Real Story is going to be quite link-rich. Best to just read through and come back to the links if you want, when you’re done. A word of caution: I can talk trash about the Ottawa press gallery as well as anyone, and much of the criticism (especially when aimed at the bosses at the CBC) is richly deserved, but sweeping denunciations are wholly unfair.
So keep that in mind, and do remember as well the caution I left off with in yesterday’s newsletter, perhaps especially when I get into the business about the Conservative Party: If you’re susceptible to paranoia, try harder to fight it. Don’t succumb. If you can’t fight it, you’ll probably want to steer clear of what’s coming down the pike here.
First, some serendipitous “breaking” developments:
Merci, Jean-Francois Cloutier
I’m as amused as anyone that I’ve been pretty much alone in the Anglo news media in noticing that the Impeccably Credentialed Laurentian Gentleman David Johnston’s “ski buddy” conflicts of interest vis-a-vis the Trudeau family are small spuds compared to his lifetime of kowtowing to and collaborating with Beijing’s state-capitalist establishment in Canada.
Odd that Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives, too, have chosen not to notice. So I’m pleased to see that Johnston’s troubling China ties have attracted the attention of award-winning journalist Jean-Francois Cloutier and the Journal de Montreal’s Investigation Bureau, in two full pages of this weekend’s newspaper.
The Journal de Montreal spread highlights eight apprehensions of bias in Johnston’s appointment as Prime Minister Trudeau’s “special independent rapporteur” in the matter of the Trudeau government’s handling of Beijing’s election interference operations in 2019 and 2021.
Of the eight instances of conflict cited by the Journal team, seven directly relate to the Beijing-influence angles that compromise Johnston (all of which I’ve covered either in my columns or in this newsletter; thanks for that credit, Journal crew!). It’s only the last one, headlined Trudeau Family Friend, that gets into the “ski buddy” stuff.
If any of my subscribers are tempted to bang on about the “MSM” right now, I get it, but save it. I’m still “MSM,” and the news media’s overall incapacitation in Canada is the main reason I launched this newsletter in the first place. While I’ve been suitably harsh -on the bosses at the CBC, for instance - let’s keep things in perspective, shall we?
As for my own “scoops” about David Johnston, it’s just that I have a bit of an unfair advantage. I’ve had my eye on him for years. Here’s me six years ago, in Macleans: Ottawa's despicable display in China.
It would be hard to imagine a more obscene display of Canada’s slavish relationship with China’s depraved Communist Party regime: The very moment imprisoned democracy activist and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo died under heavy guard on a hospital bed in the northeast city of Shenyang on Thursday, a beaming Governor General David Johnston was posing for photographs at the opulent Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, shaking hands with Chinese tyrant Xi Jinping, Liu’s jailer and tormentor.
It was all so very chummy.
Oh look. Apparently Beijing isn’t fond of Erin O’Toole.
Here’s Bob Fife and Steven Chase, first again with the news, if we can even call this “news” anymore: Former Conservative leader informed he is being targeted by Chinese government. No kidding? What’s really newsworthy about this is that O’Toole is being told only now that Beijing put a target on his back while he was Conservative leader, and it’s still there.
A source close to Mr. O’Toole said the Conservative MP was briefed Friday by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and he is still considering how best to reveal details to the public in a manner that balances Canadians’ right to know with national-security concerns about classified information.
Again, this will not surprise this newsletter’s subscribers, who have been privy to some key “details” about the targeting of O’Toole, about which there will be more today. It’s pretty much the main attraction in today’s newsletter, which I’ve been holding onto and I’ve been hinting at for days, and now it’s here.
Here’s another amusing confluence. Yesterday I posted a link to Friday’s newsletter on Twitter, thus: It's worse than you think. More tomorrow. Here’s a dispatch a few hours later from the Globe’s Nathan Vanderklippe: Stephen Harper thinks foreign interference is ‘far worse than we think’. It is not altogether routine for me to agree with the former prime minister on many things, so I just point this out, for levity.
Anyway, as promised: What’s the deal with that English-language magazine that the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service says has been paid to run pro-Beijing propaganda? What’s the story behind that dubious “China expert” who keeps showing up in the press? And what’s the story behind a former registered China lobbyist who has somehow ended up on the Conservative Party’s governing council?
Better sit back for this one.
Most of this series has been available to free subscribers, with the darker stuff available to my paying subscribers. We’re going dark now.