Toronto

Michael Chan, Ontario minister, defended by Kathleen Wynne amid CSIS allegations

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is dismissing concerns from Canada's spy agency that one of her cabinet ministers was under the influence of a foreign government, calling them "baseless."

CSIS concerns were deemed 'baseless', says premier

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is dismissing concerns from Canada's spy agency that one of her cabinet ministers was under the influence of a foreign government, calling them "baseless."

The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service warned the Ontario government in 2010 that Michael Chan may have been susceptible to influence by the Chinese government and had "unusually close ties to Chinese officials."

Chan, who is now the minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade, has served with honour in the Ontario government and he is one of the hardest-working people she has ever met, Wynne said Tuesday.

"I understand that this story has resurfaced, but as I say, this is something that was made public in 2010 and the concerns were deemed to be baseless," she said after an unrelated announcement in Cambridge, Ont.

"There have been no specific allegations. I'm not aware of any specific allegations and that's exactly what was found in 2010."

When the Globe and Mail began asking questions again recently, Wynne said she asked her own staff to revisit the issue.

"There was still nothing of substance that came forward," she said.

CSIS did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said it is a matter for the Ontario government to address.

Chan was not immediately available for an interview, but told the Globe and Mail that CSIS alleged he owned property in China and had asked the then-consul general directly for a visa and that if favours were granted, reciprocation could be expected.

Chan told the newspaper the allegations were not true and his spokesman said a 2009 delegation to China and discussions about cultural events were the reasons for Chan's frequent contact with the consul general.

Chan accompanied Wynne on a trade mission to China last. He returned to the country on another trade mission this year focusing on the agri-food sector.

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