On foreign interference, Canada playing ‘whack-a-mole’ to China’s chess: expert – National

Two former intelligence officials have called for a complete transformation of Canada’s security apparatus to counter the expansion of foreign intervention operations, which have been largely ignored by Ottawa since the 1990s.

On Friday, the House Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics heard the recommendation of a new national independent office with powers to investigate and prosecute acts of foreign interference. by Canada’s allies such as Australia.

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Among the witnesses, including former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu and former editor of the Xin Tao Daily Victor Ho, were former CSIS officers Michelle Juno Katsuya and Dan Stanton, who told lawmakers he believed the Chinese Communist Party was deeply undermining Canada’s democratic institutions.

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“China is the A team, so we are focused on China. There is no comparison [to other nations] In terms of range,” Stanton said. “China keeps playing chess, Canada is whack-a-mole.”

Juno Katsuya testified that he learned during joint CSIS and RCMP investigations in the 1990s that PRC consular officials allegedly secretly financed both Liberal and Conservative parties in Canada. bottom.

Juno Katsuya suggested that these operations had grown in scale and sophistication in recent years, but in the 1990s CSIS received strong information that China was covertly funding Canadian politicians. collected.

“CSIS has known of foreign interference in Canada by the People’s Republic for at least the past 30 years. Every government during this period has been compromised and infiltrated by agents of influence.” Being manipulated by an agent or partisan concern.

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Stanton said he agreed.

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“This is an existential threat,” Stanton testified. For 30 years, he said, the People’s Republic of China has sought influence with politicians and bureaucrats, operating with “confidence bordering on arrogance” and targeting the “soft underbelly” of Canadian institutions.

In response to parliamentarians’ questions, Stanton said that while many provinces, including Russia and India, interfere in Canada, the “whole-of-society” network under the People’s Republic of China’s national security law is said to pose a threat from the states of the United States.

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Allegations of intelligence documents and sources outlining significant interference from the Toronto Chinese Consulate in the 2019 federal elections, as well as continued widespread interference in the 2021 elections and the Asian diaspora, were reported by Global News last November 11. Since reporting exclusively in May, several congressional committees have investigated the threat of Chinese interference. Canadian community.

Stanton told lawmakers on Friday that he had not seen any reforms in Ottawa since last November and questioned the government’s response to consulting the public at “town halls” about foreign interference registrations. Called the “United Front” interference network, he said.

Juno Katsuya said Canada could adopt new legislation that came into force in Australia in 2018 to deal with similar threats from the People’s Republic. But giving the RCMP and CSIS more funding to deal with foreign interference won’t work, Stanton and Juno Katsuya said.

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For example, Katsuya Juno told CSIS that “the lack of transparency prevented us from issuing a warning to the public about serious interference and espionage activities against Canadian companies.” CSIS privately warned the federal government, but “nothing happened” to counter the threat.

That is why Canada needs a new, independent office unaffiliated with the RCMP or CSIS, empowered by Congress to independently investigate and prosecute acts of serious interference, he said.

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He suggested that the new agency he recommended would need to have no political clout in Ottawa because successive governments in Ottawa have turned a blind eye to the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration.

Meanwhile, former British Columbia Conservative MP Kenny Chu said he believed he and other MPs had been successfully slandered in the CCP’s media disinformation campaign in the 2021 federal elections. . This claim has been widely reported in both the media and several academic studies.

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“The purpose of these CCP shadow operations is to exploit our weaknesses. [media channels] Like WeChat, it promotes and spreads disinformation,” said Chiu.

He discussed these disinformation operations with CSIS, which essentially did nothing to protect him and other members of parliament from election interference by Chinese intelligence services. He added that he doesn’t think so.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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