Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called it “unacceptable” that a Chinese social media group run by an aide to a cabinet minister was used to promote a fundraiser to sue a journalist who reported on the Chinese government.
A new report from CBC explains that the WeChat post, from Minister of Digital Government Joyce Murray’s office, linked to a fundraiser against Global News for a report on the Chinese government’s stockpiling of personal protective equipment overseas, including in Canada.
The Maple Leafs Anti-Racism Actions Association, which is leading the fundraiser and describes itself as “Canadian citizens and permanent residents” battling racism in Canada, said it wants to sue Global News and reporter Sam Cooper for an April 30 story detailing China’s aggressive moves to import vast quantities of personal protective equipment in the early days of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“The minister of digital government has been promoting a fundraising campaign to sue Global News for their story that criticized the Chinese Communist Party,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said during question period Tuesday.
“We Chat is a Chinese state-sanctioned social media platform that is monitored by communist state security … Clearly this is inappropriate. What action has the prime minister taken in light of these revelations?”
Trudeau said that he values journalists and the work they do, and said that the post was no sanctioned by either his party or his government.
“Attacking the integrity of hard-working journalists is absolutely unacceptable,” Trudeau said.
A spokesperson from Murray’s office said in a statement that the post was unacceptable and that views posted by people in the group don’t necessarily reflect those of Murray. The statement also said the person who posted the link to the lawsuit has since been removed from the group.