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MP Han Dong serves Global News with libel notice over foreign interference report

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Provincial Liberal candidate Han Dong celebrates with supporters while taking part in a rally in Toronto on Thursday, May 22, 2014. A lawyer for Dong has served Global News and its parent company Corus Entertainment with a libel notice after the media outlet published an allegation the Toronto MP spoke to a Chinese diplomat about delaying the release of two Canadians. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — A lawyer for Han Dong has served Global News and its parent company Corus Entertainment with a libel notice after the media outlet published an allegation the Toronto MP spoke to a Chinese diplomat about delaying the release of two Canadians.

Lawyer Mark Polley says he is demanding that Global News make a "full apology and retraction" for publishing what he describes as "false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory statements" about Dong, now an Independent MP for Don Valley North.

Global published a story last week, citing unidentified security sources who alleged Dong told a Chinese diplomat in February 2021 that releasing Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained in China, would benefit the federal Conservatives.

The media outlet has also published allegations that Dong benefited from Chinese foreign interference in his successful bid to become the Liberal candidate for his riding in 2019.

The Canadian Press has not independently verified the allegations against Dong, who has not yet filed a statement of claim in court.

A spokeswoman for Global News and Corus Entertainment says she is unable to provide comment because the companies have received a libel notice, but added that Global News is governed by a rigorous set of journalistic principles and practices.

"We are very mindful of the public interest and legal responsibility of this important accountability reporting," Rishma Govani said in a statement.

The Canadian Press has not independently verified the allegations against Dong.

The written statement from Polley says Dong wants to clear his name.

"Mr. Dong respects and supports the critical role that responsible journalism plays in a free and democratic society. Indeed, Mr. Dong's family came to Canada seeking those very values," it says. "He voted in the House of Commons for a public inquiry into foreign election interference because he believes the truth should come out."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023. 

The Canadian Press