The Conservative Party is asking Elections Canada to formally investigate the activities of Tru-Youth United – a youth-run fan club of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau which has a connection with the daughter of Michael Ching, a man wanted by the Chinese government.
The youth organization was allegedly run out of Ching’s Richmond, British Columbia office and was responsible for a dinner which Trudeau attended in June 2013.
Trudeau distanced himself from Ching Thursday when asked about his connection with the party during a press conference, saying he is no longer involved with the party.
“The fact is we continue to build a strong network of people supporting us across the country, but over the past while, given these controversies, Mr. Ching hasn’t been directly involved in the party.”
In-Depth: Federal Election 2015
Several photos obtained by the South China Morning Post show Trudeau, Chan, and Ching sitting together at a fundraising dinner in British Columbia that Ching’s office helped plan, according to the newspaper.
Ching has donated to the Liberals, and the Conservatives in the past, and was mentioned once by Chan in the House of Commons.
The Conservative Party’s request to Elections Canada asked those donations, and the work of the youth organization, be investigated.
“We request that a full investigation be initiated by your office, without delay, into any contributions the Liberal Party of Canada and the Trudeau campaign team have received from Mr. Ching or Tru-Youths, or any contributions in any way related or connected to either of them,” according to the formal request.
Trudeau said Thursday the party has followed all rules surrounding political donations.
“We have always complied with all the rules and laws surrounding political activities and political donations. We’ve been open and transparent and every step of the way we have demonstrated that in this case and in every other case,” Trudeau said.
Ching is a permanent Canadian resident and sought refugee status in Canada. Trudeau said Thursday he had “no knowledge at all” of Ching asking party officials for help with his application.
David Matas, the lawyer who represented Ching in his refugee claim, said in a statement that the allegations made in the South China Morning Post story are “ridiculous.”
“It is ridiculous. For one the Refugee Protection tribunal is independent from government. So is the Federal Court. For another, as you know, the Liberals are not in government and have not been for a long time,” the statement read.
“The story was very Chinese Communist. With the China Communist Party, connections matter. Extrapolation is common everywhere. Because in Communist China, what counts is guangxi, the South China Morning Post no doubt figured that for its readers the implications they floated would have plausibility.”
Ching’s daughter, Linda, was part of a Trudeau fan club, Tru-Youth United, according to the South China Morning Post.
There is an Interpol Red Notice for Muyang Cheng, who the South China Morning Post says is Ching – though through a statement to the National Post, Ching denied that.
Muyeng Cheng, 45, is the subject of an Interpol red notice and accused of, among other things, taking “advantage of their office to misappropriate, steal, swindle or use other illegal means to acquire state properties.”
But Ching has not been arrested in Canada despite the Interpol notice. RCMP sources tell Global News that in order for an arrest to happen China would have to provide adequate evidence of wrongdoing – and it appears that criteria hasn’t been met.
Ching operates the Mo Yeung International Enterprise Ltd. out of Richmond, British Columbia and has been involved in the development of a number of buildings in the area including Collection 45, a new condo building in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver.
– With files from Vassy Kapelos
Below is the full response from Liberal party spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau:
Michael Ching has never had any official role in the structure of the Liberal Party of Canada. Mr. Ching has donated to the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as the Conservative Party, and has attended a few Liberal events. We looked into all matters referenced in the SCMP story and are confident that all Elections Canada rules were always respected.
Linda Ching went through the open and democratic process established by LPC, rallied supporters, and was thus acclaimed as President of YLC (BC) in November 2013. Her mandate ended in May 2015. She currently doesn’t have any official role with the Liberal Party of Canada.
As for Raymond Chan, he is well-respected in many communities across Canada. He is the first Chinese Canadian to be appointed to Cabinet, and was responsible for a number of high-profile and important portfolios as a Member of Parliament. I refer you to his resumé. It should be no surprise that he still lends a hand to his political party.”