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Canada's Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole speaks to a crowd of supporters as he campaigns for the 20th of September General election, at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Aug. 20, 2021.KAYLE NEIS/AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s spy agency has informed former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole that he was targeted by Beijing during his time as party chief and remains a target because of his criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

A source close to Mr. O’Toole said the Conservative MP was briefed Friday by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and he is still considering how best to reveal details to the public in a manner that balances Canadians’ right to know with national-security concerns about classified information.

The Globe and Mail is not naming the source because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Mr. O’Toole is the second MP to learn in recent weeks that they or their family were targeted by the Chinese government.

As The Globe first reported earlier this month, another Conservative MP, Michael Chong, and his family were targeted by the Chinese government after he spearheaded a parliamentary motion in 2021 declaring China’s repression of Uyghurs to constitute genocide. Other Western legislatures later echoed Canada’s condemnation of Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities by making similar declarations.

There is no indication so far that Mr. O’Toole’s family was targeted, the source said. For much of his time as opposition leader, Mr. O’Toole’s sister lived in Hong Kong with her husband, who worked as a senior test pilot with Cathay Pacific. The couple were in Hong Kong for roughly a decade.

Mr. O’Toole led the Conservative Party through the 2021 federal election. In previous interviews with Canadian media, he has alleged that the party lost up to nine seats in that election because of Chinese interference.

The Conservative Party’s platform in the 2021 election included several policies that were critical of China, including the promise of a foreign-agents registry that would require individuals and companies acting as agents of foreign powers to register. The Conservatives also pledged to withdraw from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure and further investigate the company’s role in providing surveillance capabilities used against the Uyghur people and other persecuted minorities in China.

The Globe reported May 1 that a July, 2021, intelligence assessment by CSIS found China’s intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), “has taken specific actions to target Canadian MPs” linked to the parliamentary motion condemning Beijing’s oppression of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities. The spy agency said an MSS officer sought information on an unnamed Canadian MP’s relatives “who may be located in the PRC [People’s Republic of China], for further potential sanctions.”

A national-security source told The Globe that the MP in question was Mr. Chong, who has relatives in Hong Kong. The source also said Zhao Wei, a diplomat in China’s Toronto consulate, worked on the matter.

That warning was never passed on to Mr. Chong until The Globe reported on it. CSIS director David Vigneault later confirmed to Mr. Chong that he was targeted and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government ultimately expelled Mr. Zhao.

Former governor-general David Johnston this week identified a major intelligence communication breakdown in the government’s failure to alert Mr. Chong back in 2021 of the evidence gathered by CSIS that the Chinese government was targeting him.

In an interim report on foreign interference, Mr. Johnston said he learned that CSIS sent a note to then-minister of public safety Bill Blair, the minister’s chief of staff and his deputy minister in May, 2021, alerting them of intelligence “indicating the PRC intended to target Mr. Chong, another [unidentified] MP and their family in China.”

But, Mr. Johnston said, neither the minister nor his chief of staff received this note and neither have access to the top-secret e-mail network on which the message was sent.

“This is certainly the most prominent, but not the only, example of poor information flow and processing between agencies, the public service and ministers,” Mr. Johnston wrote.

It’s not clear whether Mr. O’Toole is the unidentified MP noted by Mr. Johnston in correspondence from CSIS to Mr. Blair’s office.

Mr. Trudeau said this week he will not call an independent public inquiry into Chinese interference in Canadian politics after Mr. Johnston recommended against one.

Mr. Johnston, who was asked by Mr. Trudeau in March to lead an investigation into foreign meddling in the 2019 and 2021 elections, said in his report tabled Tuesday that such interference is an “increasing threat to our democratic system,” and China is “particularly active.”

He concluded, however, that because intelligence about Beijing’s activities is highly classified, it could never be openly discussed with Canadians in a public inquiry.

The Globe sought comment from CSIS but it did not offer an immediate response.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy denied China was conducting foreign interference in Canada.

“We never interfere in Canada’s internal affairs, including its election process, and have no interests whatsoever in doing so,” Jianwei Li said in an emailed statement.

The embassy spokesperson accused Canadian media and politicians of fabricating “disinformation to smear China” and warned this is damaging Canada-China relations.