A report by Iran International, “Canadian Party Seeks Probe On Election Interference By Iran,” states that Canada’s Conservatives and Bloc Québécois MPs have voted in favor of a New Democratic Party (NDP) motion to probe election interference by Iran. Although other countries are also cited in the motion, the biggest scandal to date over 2019 and 2021 election interference in Canada is over possible meddling from China, and for good reason. Frank Gaffney interviewed me about the topic HERE, and an update can be read HERE. The focus of this article, however, is Iran, given its broader influence in Canada (and the implications of that influence) since the Trudeau government took power. This should not be ignored, particularly in light of the most recent revelation about possible election interference by the Islamic regime.
It is peculiar that the far-left NDP — which founded an “unofficial” New Democratic Party Socialist Caucus in 1998 — is the party now seeking the probe. The NDP signed a pact with the Trudeau government last year to prop up Trudeau until 2025. Let’s hope that pact is unravelling.
In light of the NDP’s motion to investigate possible election interference by Iran, one needs to pay close attention to the Liberal government’s significant past dealings with the Islamic regime.
Canada experienced a shift when the Iranian embassy was closed in September 2012. In an August 2012 article I wrote for the Gatestone Institute, entitled Shut Down Iran’s Embassy in Canada, I outline the political climate directly prior to its closure. David Harris, a security specialist and former Chief of Strategic Planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, issued a statement warning about the danger that Iran posed to Canadian and American security:
“Iran’s Ottawa Embassy operates with aggressive purposes that appear to be well beyond the bounds of international law, civilized norms and, of course, the interests of Canadian — and American — national security. Through espionage and subversion, the Embassy projects Tehran’s will, relying, in part, on Iranian newcomers from among Canada’s vast immigrant inflows to intimidate loyal Canadians of Iranian background, penetrate government and infrastructural interests and generally contribute to Tehran’s influence in Canadian life…”
As I pointed out in the Gatestone article, the plan was to hand-pick the most influential Iranian and Muslim immigrants “to infiltrate and influence the Canadian government’s image of the Islamic regime, thereby affecting the political decision-making process and affecting policies.” The embassy was indeed shut down a month later by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because of plans to advance a Fifth Column in Canada and ultimately attack the United States. Yet Trudeau still remained committed to reopening the embassy.
Just a year after Trudeau won elections in 2015, Canada started official talks with Iran to renew ties; then-Foreign Affairs Minister Stephan Dion vowed to “re-engage with Iran.” Al Jazeera even reported that “Canada and Iran ease into a new friendship.”
A year later, in 2016, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre quietly traveled to Iran, where he signed a groundbreaking agreement with the terrorist-funding rogue regime to “boost mutual cooperation in various fields.”
By 2017, the Iranian Canadian Congress was pressuring the Trudeau government to “fulfill its promise and re-engage with Iran.” Jihad Watch also reported at that time that Iran, despite the closure of its embassy, continued to expand its interests in Canada, endangering dissidents and facilitating a Fifth Column. The Toronto Sun published a story: Trudeau cozies up to Iran’s brutal regime. Liberal MP Majid Jowhari was found to be lobbying the Canadian government to reopen embassies in Ottawa and Iran. Jowhari had previously gone so far as to sponsor a petition, which featured over 5,600 names, to reestablish diplomatic ties with Iran.
Then in 2017, there was a sudden shift in Liberal government policy. The Montreal Gazette reported that Stephane Dion abruptly quit as Trudeau bolsters cabinet to face Trump era. In the face of a Trump government, Dion’s resignation accompanied the ending of the Canadian government’s plans with the Iranian regime, at least insofar as those plans were known to the public. But there remained concerns. In 2019, unit 910 of the Iranian proxy Hizballah, known as its Black Ops — in charge of foreign operations — was found to be more active in Canada than in the US. In fact, a Hizballah operative with United 910 collected “detailed information” about Toronto’s Pearson airport, in order to plan attacks.
In 2020, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned that Iran used a Toronto company to wire millions to Canada, despite sanctions. Alireza Onghaei, the owner of ONG Currency Exchange Inc. on Toronto’s Yonge Street, was accused of funneling millions of dollars into Canada from Iran from Bank Saderat, which is controlled by the Iranian regime.
Also in 2020, Liberal MP Majid Jowhari was back in the news, accused this time not only of direct connections to Iran, but also of receiving payments from Iran. This accusation overtly linked an elected Canadian politician with the Iranian regime. Meanwhile, Jowhari remains a Liberal MP, touted by Trudeau as a “strong advocate” of human rights, even as he roiled Iranian-Canadian dissidents over his support for the Iranian regime. That support included a 2018 invitation to a delegation of Iranian parliamentarians; he discussed setting up “a parliamentary friendship group between the two countries,” as well as “reopening Tehran’s shuttered embassy in Ottawa.”
There are politicians who are reportedly resisting any “foreign interference probe looking beyond China,” according to a recent report from the CBC. In May, however, the National Post reported that the Conservatives and Bloc MPs voted in favor of an NDP motion “calling for an inquiry to include a look at attempted interference not only by China but also Russia, Iran and India.” For now, information remains sketchy with regard to what role Iran may have played in election interference, and how far investigations would or should go. But enough information is on the table to raise serious concerns about Iran’s covert operations in Canada, including any possibility of election interference.