Legislative assembly

Former Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan running for regional council

Chan has spoken out in favor of Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong and denounced protesters in recent years

Former Ontario Cabinet Minister Michael Chan has thrown his hat into the ring to become York Regional Councilor in Ontario’s upcoming municipal election. Chan, who served in the Ontario Liberal government, had been the subject of a China-linked Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warning while in Cabinet, according to the Globe and Mail. , and has in recent years spoken publicly in favor of Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong.

Chan announced his intention to run as a councilor for York Regional Council on August 8.

“I am delighted to share the news that I have just signed up to run as a regional councilor in Markham. I can’t wait to start my campaign and meet as many Markham residents as possible,” he wrote in a Posting on Twitter.

Chan served as a Liberal Member of the Ontario Legislature from 2007 to 2018, served as Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade from 2014 to 2016, and Minister of International Trade from 2016 to 2018.

He announced his retirement from provincial politics in 2018 due to health issues, months before the municipal elections that year. Speaking at an event on August 3, Chan said his doctor found him to be in good health, local media reported.

In 2015, Chan filed a libel suit against The Globe and Mail after the news agency reported that CSIS warned the Ontario government of Dalton McGuinty in 2010 that Chan was under the influence of Beijing and was too close. from the Chinese consulate in Toronto.

Chan had also been a strong supporter of Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong, passed in June 2020, which was used to quell massive pro-democracy protests in the autonomous region that erupted the previous year. . The law authorizes the creation of a security agency in Hong Kong under the direct control of Beijing. The agency is not under the control of the Hong Kong government and is not subject to the authority of the Hong Kong police.

In a 2020 interview with China News Service, China’s second-largest state-run news agency, after Xinhua, Chan said the new legislation would help end the “social upheaval” caused by pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Kong.

The Canadian government had expressed concerns about Hong Kong’s national security law, which criminalizes “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and provides “very broad definitions for those crimes that violate rights and freedoms”. Ottawa had introduced sanctions against the Hong Kong government, limiting exports of sensitive goods there in the same way as those to China, including the export of sensitive military items.

A man is detained by riot police during a protest at a shopping mall in Sheung Shui district, Hong Kong on December 28, 2019. Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong continue to demand an independent investigation into police brutality , the retraction of the word “riot” to qualify rallies, and true universal suffrage. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
A pedestrian reacts after police fired tear gas in Hong Kong’s Mongkok district on Oct. 27, 2019. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Hong Kong poster
A policeman points a gun during a rally in Hong Kong on December 22, 2019. (Courtesy Lai Ka Wai)

Amid the 2019 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, Chan had also criticized the protesters, saying they were very extreme and that, contrary to Western media reports of excessive violence used by Hong Kong police against civilians , the police showed great restraint.

Chan also blamed “external forces” for fueling the protests, in line with Beijing’s characterization of the origin of the protests in Hong Kong.

“If it weren’t for a deep-pocketed organization here, or a deep-pocketed push from outside, there wouldn’t be such massive unrest in Hong Kong,” he said.

Hong Kong police had opened fire on protesters with live ammunition, used tear gas, beaten protesters indiscriminately and carried out mass arbitrary arrests during the 2019 pro-democracy movement. Following the introduction of the national security law in June 2020, several pro-democracy outlets in the former British colony went out of business in 2021 after police raided their offices and arrested staff members, including Canadian pop singer Denise Ho, who was a board member of the nonprofit Stand News.

Omid Ghoreishi contributed to this article

Andre Chen


Andrew Chen is a Toronto-based reporter for The Epoch Times.