Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise tonight in the House once again to represent the people of the North Okanagan—Shuswap.
I will also state that it is even more of an honour to rise on this occasion to speak on the important ruling of the matter of privilege raised by my colleague, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. In this ruling, the Speaker found a prima facie case of breach of privilege. It is an honour to stand here tonight and speak to defending our democracy in Canada, for Canada and for freedom and democracy everywhere.
I do not know if anyone in the House ever takes for granted the significance of our roles here to carry out the business of one of the freest countries in the world. I know that I never take it for granted; what an honour it is to defend our freedoms. They are the very reason we are here as elected representatives of the common people, freely elected through a democratic process and not appointed by a dictatorship.
We are here as elected representatives because the voters in our communities have entrusted us to carry out the democratic process without undue influence of money, undue influence of power and, especially, inappropriate influence or threats to our families. However, that is why we are here tonight, late at night, debating a point of privilege raised by one of us. A fellow parliamentarian was fairly elected through our democratic process, and this member has learned of alleged attempted influence on him through his family.
There was a report in The Globe and Mail on May 1. It claimed that there were CSIS documents from 2021 stating that the Communist government of China sees Canada as a prime target for interference. That report also stated that the family of the Conservative MP for Wellington—Halton Hills was targeted by a Chinese diplomat, Zhao Wei, because of how the hon. member had voted on a motion in the House.
The Prime Minister claimed that the note did not leave the CSIS office; top security officials have confirmed that this claim is false. The note was widely dispersed among government departments and the Prime Minister's national security adviser. In addition, The Canadian Press published a story earlier this week saying that, despite what the Minister of Public Safety claims, Chinese police stations are still operating in Quebec.
What is most troubling about this situation is that we, as elected members, continued to come to the House to work in our democratic process for almost two years after CSIS raised the alert about this foreign attack on our democracy. We believed that, in a democratic country, we were safe from intimidation as elected members. From this report and subsequent releases, we learned that the threats and intimidation occurred almost two years ago, and yet the member directly affected was not informed until he learned of it in the news, nor were the remainder of parliamentarians alerted to the threat.
These alleged threats to the family of a member do more than just influencing one member of the House. Any attack on one member is an attack on all members of the House, as well as an attack on the rule of law and on Canada's democracy overall.
I cannot imagine the stress that the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills must be going through knowing what has happened. Family is our sanctity. It should always be the reason for doing what is right. It should never be the reason for feeling threatened or pressured into doing something we know is wrong.
It has been two years since the government became aware that the MP and his family were being targeted by the regime in Beijing, and a full week after the information became public. We have learned now that the government has finally made the decision that should have been made on the day it found out about this attack on a member of the House of Commons.
It is unacceptable that the government has known that an MP and his family had been targeted by the Communist regime in Beijing for two years and it did not inform the member or the members in this House about the threats posed to that member's family. It is even further unacceptable that the government continued to provide diplomatic immunity for an agent of Beijing for two years after learning he was using his position to harass Canadians and their families.
Chinese Canadians and all Canadians across the country deserve to know that the government takes their safety and security seriously. While the government has finally taken action against the diplomat who threatened the member of Parliament, it has failed to shut down Beijing's police stations operating in Canada and failed to protect members of the community from harassment and intimidation. We know the government is slow to respond to threats to our security, and this must change. It took it years to respond to concern over Huawei's influence on the 5G network, something our allies had acted upon much earlier. The government lagged behind and, no doubt, caused concerns for our allies' joint security because of Canada's failure to act.
The fact that this interference ever occurred and it took this long to take action is proof of the government's incompetence in fulfilling its basic responsibility to protect Canadians. The government must take the other steps that the House voted on this week, including a public inquiry that will lay out what the government knew about Beijing's interference in our democratic process. This is the bare minimum it must do in order to restore any amount of trust from Canadians of any and all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions and spiritual beliefs so they will be free from undue foreign government interference. I fear for what could happen to us as Canadians and freedom across the world should the government fail to act.
It is very late and there may not be many people in this country watching at home right now, but my hope is that Canadians across the country will be watching and listening and will hold the government accountable, especially its leadership, for its actions and especially its inaction on issues like this that threaten Canada's security and the freedoms that people from around the world migrate to and aspire to. My hope is that Canadians and people around the world will be watching and will hold the government accountable.