Toronto

Michael Chan demands apology from Peter MacKay over media comments

An Ontario cabinet minister is asking for an apology from federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay for appearing to suggest he is under active investigation by Canada's spy agency.

Federal politician backs away from comments that CSIS has 'ongoing investigation' into Chan

Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Chan says he has 'no other choice' to protect his reputation in the wake of articles in the Globe and Mail. (The Canadian Press)

An Ontario cabinet minister is asking for an apology from federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay for appearing to suggest he is under active investigation by Canada's spy agency.

Michael Chan has also called for an apology and retraction from the Globe and Mail, which published stories this month that he says have caused significant damage to his reputation.

The newspaper reported that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned the Ontario government in 2010 that Chan may have been susceptible to Chinese influence and had "unusually close ties to Chinese officials" — allegations Chan calls unfounded.

When the Globe's article was published, reporters asked MacKay whether it was appropriate for government ministers to have close relationships with foreign officials.

MacKay said he wouldn't discuss Chan's specific case because it is an "ongoing investigation."

Last week MacKay backed away from those comments, calling it an "asinine assertion" that he confirmed CSIS was actively investigating Chan, but Chan is not satisfied with that response.

A combative Justice Minister Peter MacKay says it's "asinine" to suggest he said an Ontario minister was under investigation by CSIS when he answered a question this week. You be the judge. 2:03

"Two days after making these comments, you denied having made them," Chan wrote Wednesday in a letter to MacKay.    

"As a direct result of your comments, media from across Canada immediately reported that CSIS was actively investigating me. You allowed this matter to linger for two days without clarification, and that is completely unacceptable. I am requesting a public apology to me personally for your baseless and incorrect comments."

The Globe's editor-in-chief has said the paper stands by its stories on Chan and plans to publish further material on the matter.

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