Han Dong (politician)

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Han Dong
Dong in 2020
Member of Parliament
for Don Valley North
Assumed office
October 21, 2019
Preceded byGeng Tan
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Trinity—Spadina
In office
June 12, 2014 – June 7, 2018
Preceded byRosario Marchese
Succeeded byRiding dissolved
Personal details
Born
Han Peng Dong

1977 (age 46–47)
Shanghai, China
Political partyIndependent (since 2023)
Other political
affiliations
Liberal (until 2023)
Ontario Liberal
SpouseSophie
Children2
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese董晗鵬
Simplified Chinese董晗鹏

Han Peng Dong MP (Chinese: 董晗鵬; born c. 1977) is a Canadian politician who is serving as the member of parliament (MP) for Don Valley North. Sitting as an independent, Dong was elected to the House of Commons in 2019 as a member of the Liberal Party. He previously served as the member of provincial parliament (MPP) for Trinity—Spadina from 2014 to 2018, with the Ontario Liberal Party. In March 2023, Dong stepped down from the Liberal caucus amidst allegations that he advised the Chinese consul general in Toronto against the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and helped the consulate interfere in the 2019 federal election.

Background[edit]

Han Peng Dong[1] was born in Shanghai. He moved to Toronto with his family when he was 13 and they settled in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto.[2] He lives in Toronto with his wife Sophie and their two children.[3]

Dong worked as marketing director of Chianti Foods and then with the non-profit Canada Shanghai Business Association. Since making the switch to politics, he spent nine years at Queen's Park serving as Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Gerry Phillips's MPP liaison, and most recently as a senior adviser of community outreach under then Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Coteau.[4]

Political career[edit]

Member of Provincial Parliament (2014–2018)[edit]

Dong ran in the 2014 provincial election as the Ontario Liberal candidate in the riding of Trinity—Spadina.[5] He defeated New Democrat incumbent Rosario Marchese by 9,175 votes.[5][6][7]

He was Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development; Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy; Vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs; member of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment; member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts; member of the Standing Committee on Estimates. He also served as the Chair of The Cabinet Committee of Legislations and Regulations.

In February 2016, he introduced a private member's bill to license and regulate the Ontario home inspection industry, which prompted the Ontario Liberal government to draft its own government legislation for that purpose.[8]

In March 2017 Dong introduced another private member's bill, the Reliable Elevators Act, setting time limits on repairs of elevators in residential buildings.[6] The bill was successfully passed.[9] Dong noted the hardship out of service elevators posed to the elderly, and to parents whose children required strollers.[10]

In the 2018 provincial election, Dong was defeated by New Democratic candidate Chris Glover in the redistributed riding of Spadina—Fort York.

Municipal[edit]

Dong registered as a candidate in the 2018 Toronto municipal election, to represent Ward 20 on Toronto City Council.[11] After the number of wards in the city was reduced from 47 to 25, Dong did not refile his candidacy by the September 21, 2018, deadline and was thus deemed to have withdrawn.[12]

Member of Parliament (2019–present)[edit]

On July 4, 2019, Dong confirmed his candidacy for the federal Liberal nomination in Don Valley North following the retirement of incumbent MP Geng Tan.[13] Dong was elected to Parliament in the October 2019 federal election.

Dong was re-elected as the MP for Don Valley North in the September 2021 election.

Dong currently serves as the co-chair Canada-China Legislative Association. Dong is also a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills, and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics.[14]

Alleged Chinese government interference[edit]

On February 24, 2023, Global News reported that its intelligence sources with knowledge of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) affairs reported that Dong was an alleged "witting affiliate" in China's election interference networks.[15] Sources claim that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior Liberal party officials ignored CSIS warnings about Dong, which has been denied by Trudeau.[16]

The same article also claimed that a "Liberal insider" and former Ontario MPP Michael Chan had possibly arranged Tan's ouster in Don Valley North in favour of Dong in advance of the 2019 federal election because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was unhappy with Tan. Chan, Dong, and the Chinese embassy denied the accusations, with Dong describing the leaks as "seriously inaccurate". Dong and the Liberal Party also said that his 2019 nomination victory had followed all of the party's rules.[15] According to an anonymous intelligence official and intelligence documents viewed by Global News, CSIS had also been investigating Dong due to an alleged meeting between Dong and a senior official from the CCP's United Front Work Department in New York state.[15]

Dong has stated that he would welcome investigations against himself to clear his name but denies the need for a public inquiry.[17] In response to these allegations, Trudeau has also rejected these allegations as "irresponsible" and a result of anti-Asian racism against Dong.[18] He also stressed that Dong is unquestionably loyal to Canada.[19][20]

In March 2023, he said that he was yet to be contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Elections Canada, or CSIS concerning the allegations, and that he wanted the truth to come out.[21]

On March 22, 2023, additional reporting from Global News, based on two national security sources, said that in February 2021, Dong had reached out to the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Toronto to discuss the detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. According to the sources, Dong told Han Tao, the consul-general, that their release should be delayed, that their release could benefit the Conservative Party of Canada, and for China to make concessions to Canada in the ongoing detention dispute. In a statement, Dong said that although he had spoken to the consul-general, he had not initiated it, and he had not suggested delaying the release of the Spavor and Kovrig, instead calling for their release. The Prime Minister's Office said it was not aware of the meeting until Dong told the PMO after media questions, and that Dong was not used as a diplomatic backchannel.[22] On the same day, Dong announced that he would be leaving the Liberal caucus and sitting as an independent to work on clearing his name without disrupting government business and to avoid a "conflict of duty" by remaining on the government benches.[23]

On March 23, 2023, The Globe and Mail, citing a senior government source, reported that the Trudeau government had reviewed the CSIS transcript in question and determined that there was no "actionable evidence" and that it was unable to draw the conclusion that Dong had sought to have the Two Michaels kept in detention for political reasons. The same day, Dong, as an independent MP, voted for a New Democratic Party motion calling for a public inquiry into alleged Chinese interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections that passed with the support of the opposition parties and which was opposed by Liberal MPs.[24]

Following the allegations, Dong said he had retained a lawyer and intended to sue Global News for defamation.[24][25] Global News stood by its reporting, with its editor-in-chief saying Global follows "a rigorous set of journalistic principles and practices".[26] A few days later, lawyers for Dong issued a libel notice demanding a retraction and apology from Global News, saying that if Global News failed to do so in seven days Dong would file a lawsuit.[27] In April, Dong filed a defamation lawsuit against Global News and some of its reporters.[28] Following his review, Special Rapporteur David Johnston said that allegations that Dong had told Chinese officials to extend the detention of Kovrig and Spavor were false.[29] Johnston reviewed documents but did not speak to Dong when preparing his report, saying he decided against reaching out to Dong out of respect for the ongoing defamation lawsuit.[30][31] Dong said he was vindicated by the report,[32] saying that he wanted to rejoin the Liberal Party caucus.[33][34] In June, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said he was conducting a review to determine whether the party would readmit Dong to caucus, and that he would be reviewing other intelligence materials, as Johnston's report was just a "starting point".[31]

In September 2023, following the announcement of a public inquiry into foreign election interference, LeBlanc said that he had not had an opportunity to conduct an internal review of Dong's situation. He said that he would be meeting with Dong "in the coming days" and would provide a recommendation to Trudeau "at the right moment".[35]

In December 2023, Chinese dissident and Uyghur rights groups questioned their safety to testify at a planned public inquiry on foreign interference with Dong present.[36]

Electoral record[edit]

Federal[edit]

2021 Canadian federal election: Don Valley North
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Han Dong 22,067 54.4 +4.0
Conservative Sabrina Zuniga 12,098 29.8 -5.6
New Democratic Bruce Griffin 4,304 10.6 +1.4
People's Jay Sobel 1,301 3.2 +2.2
Green Natalie Telfer 765 1.9 -2.0
Total valid votes 40,535 100.0
Total rejected ballots 355
Turnout 40,890 55.33
Eligible voters 73,904
Source: Elections Canada[37]


2019 Canadian federal election: Don Valley North
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Han Dong 23,495 50.4 -1.02 $101,636.63
Conservative Sarah Fischer 16,506 35.4 -2.42 $78,956.94
New Democratic Bruce Griffin 4,285 9.2 +0.67 $16,277.89
Green Daniel Giavedoni 1,803 3.9 +1.67 $1,834.80
People's Jay Sobel 482 1.0 - $1,499.08
Total valid votes/expense limit 46,571 100.0
Total rejected ballots 314
Turnout 46,885 62.0
Eligible voters 75,566
Liberal hold Swing +0.70
Source: Elections Canada[38][39]

Provincial[edit]

2018 Ontario general election: Spadina—Fort York
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Chris Glover 24,677 49.62 +22.91
Liberal Han Dong 11,770 23.67 -24.64
Progressive Conservative Iris Yu 10,834 21.79 +3.33
Green Rita Bilerman 1,815 3.65 -2.33
Libertarian Erik Malmholt 278 0.56
None of the Above Adam Nobody 271 0.54
Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda Queenie Yu 86 0.17
Total valid votes 49,731 99.17
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 415 0.83
Turnout 50,146
Eligible voters
New Democratic pickup new district.
Source: Elections Ontario[40]
2014 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Han Dong 26,935 46.28 +6.35
New Democratic Rosario Marchese 17,759 30.51 -11.85
Progressive Conservative Roberta Scott 8,094 13.91 +2.35
Green Tim Grant 4,111 7.06 +1.91
Libertarian Andrew Echevarria 729 1.25
Vegan Environmental Paul Figueiras 308 0.53
Special Needs Dan King 265 0.46 +0.16
Total valid votes 58,200 100.0  
Liberal gain Swing
Source: Elections Ontario[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ @ONPARLeducation (July 13, 2022). "Within the halls of the Legislature are walls that contain the names of every Member of Provincial Parliament elected to Ontario's Legislature since 1867. The names for the 42nd Parliament were recently added. For the first time a Member's name was inscribed in Oji-Cree syllabics" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (June 5, 2014). "Grits hope to unseat NDP in busy Trinity-Spadina". Toronto Star. p. GT1.
  3. ^ Hennessy, Angela (June 13, 2014). "Grits tighten grip on downtown Toronto". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2014. I've had an uphill battle, but the momentum has grown, especially in these last few days," said Dong who won with nearly 50 per cent of the vote. "I've had such positive feedback at the doors.
  4. ^ Fatima, Sahar (July 11, 2014). "How Han Dong painted Trinity-Spadina Liberal red". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017. The red tide was in full swing less than three weeks earlier in the long-held NDP provincial riding when newbie politician Mr. Dong snatched the Trinity-Spadina seat at Queen's Park from Rosario Marchese, who had represented the area for 24 years.
  5. ^ a b Rachel Mendleson (June 12, 2014). "Liberal candidate Han Dong wins Trinity-Spadina riding in Ontario election". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2018. Heading into Thursday's vote, the race was seen as too close to call in a riding where a trio of concurrent election campaigns — municipal, provincial and federal — crowded front lawns, and at times confused voters.
  6. ^ a b Robert Benzie (March 22, 2017). "Toronto MPP pushing elevator-repair law". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2018. Liberal Han Dong (Trinity-Spadina) on Wednesday introduced a private member's bill that would force elevators to be fixed within a week in long-term care facilities and retirement homes and two weeks in other residences.
  7. ^ "General Election by District: Trinity-Spadina". Elections Ontario. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on June 17, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  8. ^ McMahon, Tamsin (August 17, 2016). "Ontario to introduce regulations for home inspections". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Elevator Industry Releases Report on the State of Reliability and Availability in Ontario". Newswire. October 11, 2017. Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2018. This industry report was initiated by the recent introduction of the Reliable Elevators Act, a Private Members Bill by MPP Han Dong, and with the government's recently commissioned Deloitte report on elevator availability.
  10. ^ Dennis Hanagan (April 5, 2017). "Making elevators reliable for high-rise living, Reliable Elevators Act". 416 magazine. Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2018. Currently, buildings higher than seven storeys are required under the building code to have only one elevator. 'This must be updated to reflect the growing vertical community we are witnessing across the province,' said Han Dong. 'Elevator repairs could be held up because of the time it takes to order parts, some of which come from other parts of the world.'
  11. ^ "Political veterans and rookies square off in Ward 20" Archived July 25, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. Toronto Star, July 18, 2018.
  12. ^ "List of Withdrawn Candidates under the 47-Ward Model". Archived from the original on January 26, 2019. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  13. ^ Rana, Abbas (July 4, 2019). "Liberal MP Tan's wife eyes party nomination in wake of his decision not to seek re-election to 'spend time with family'". The Hill Times. Archived from the original on July 5, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  14. ^ "Han Dong – Member of Parliament – Members of Parliament – House of Commons of Canada". www.ourcommons.ca. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Cooper, Sam (February 24, 2023). "Liberals ignored CSIS warning on 2019 candidate accused in Chinese interference probe: sources". Global News. Archived from the original on February 25, 2023. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  16. ^ Scherer, Steve (February 28, 2023). "Canada's Trudeau denies report that Liberals told to drop candidate over China ties". Reuters. Archived from the original on February 28, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  17. ^ Horwood, Matthew. "Han Dong welcomes probe into China ties". Western Standard. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  18. ^ Ballingall, Alex (February 27, 2023). "Justin Trudeau blames racism for allegation that China helped Liberal MP get elected". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on March 1, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  19. ^ Fraser, Mickey Djuric, David (February 28, 2023). "PM Trudeau defends MP's loyalty to Canada after reports of alleged Chinese interference". Canada's National Observer. Archived from the original on February 28, 2023. Retrieved March 1, 2023.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Tumilty, Ryan. "Trudeau defends Toronto Liberal MP accused of benefitting from Chinese interference". Windsor Star. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  21. ^ Tunney, Catharine (March 21, 2023). "Liberal MP at centre of Chinese government election interference allegations says CSIS has yet to reach out". CBC News. Archived from the original on March 21, 2023. Retrieved March 21, 2023.
  22. ^ Cooper, Sam (March 22, 2023). "Liberal MP Han Dong secretly advised Chinese diplomat in 2021 to delay freeing Two Michaels: sources". Global News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2023. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  23. ^ Tunney, Catharine (March 22, 2023). "Liberal MP Han Dong leaving caucus amid foreign interference allegations". CBC News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2023. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  24. ^ a b Fife, Robert; Chase, Steven (March 23, 2023). "Trudeau government decided CSIS transcript of MP Han Dong provided no 'actionable evidence'". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on March 24, 2023. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  25. ^ Tunney, Catharine (March 27, 2023). "MP Han Dong says he has retained a lawyer, plans to take legal action against Global News". CBC News. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  26. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (March 27, 2023). "Han Dong threatens legal action against Global News over foreign interference report". Global News. Archived from the original on March 28, 2023. Retrieved March 28, 2023.
  27. ^ Major, Darren (March 31, 2023). "MP Han Dong serves Global News with libel notice, demands retraction and apology". CBC News. Archived from the original on March 31, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  28. ^ Major, Darren (April 20, 2023). "MP Han Dong seeking $15M in defamation suit against Global News". CBC News. Archived from the original on April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  29. ^ Djuric, Mickey (May 23, 2023). "5 things we learned from David Johnston's first report on foreign interference". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 23, 2023. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  30. ^ Tunney, Catharine (June 6, 2023). "David Johnston says he never reached out to MP Han Dong before clearing him in foreign interference report". CBC News. Archived from the original on June 7, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  31. ^ a b Burke, Ashley; Ling, Philip (June 6, 2023). "LeBlanc says he'll consult intelligence as he examines a possible path back to caucus for Han Dong". CBC News. Archived from the original on June 7, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  32. ^ Major, Darren (May 23, 2023). "Politicians allegedly targeted by foreign interference 'disappointed' in Johnston's report". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2023. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  33. ^ Burke, Ashley (May 24, 2023). "MP Han Dong says he wants to rejoin Liberal caucus after being 'vindicated' by Johnston's report". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2023. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  34. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (December 2, 2023). "He Won Election to Canada's Parliament. Did China Help?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 2, 2023. Retrieved December 2, 2023.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 9, 2023. Retrieved September 9, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ Fife, Robert; Chase, Steven (December 6, 2023). "Rights activists question safety of testifying at foreign interference inquiry". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  37. ^ "Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  38. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  39. ^ "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  40. ^ "Summary of Valid Votes Cast for each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 28, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  41. ^ "General Election Results by District, 096 Trinity—Spadina". Elections Ontario. 2014. Archived from the original on June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2018.

External links[edit]