Tomer Avital in the wake of the approval of the 2023-24 budget For the sake of the journalists and presenters…
Canada – China 2022/3
Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // May 29, 2023 // Canada, Foreign Policy // No comments
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canada-China Relations: A Discussion With David Mulroney
NDP calls on Johnston to step down as special rapporteur on foreign interference
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that while he has been careful not to attack the former governor general or his reputation, Johnston’s background has led to doubts about his work as the special rapporteur.
Pierre Poilievre is right about one thing: Special rapporteur is a fake job
Lori Turnbull, Director of the School of Public Administration and associate professor at Dalhousie University,
(Globe & Mail) The decision as to whether to hold a public inquiry on any topic, including the very important issue of foreign interference in Canada’s democracy, belongs to the prime minister. It cannot be transferred to an unelected, unaccountable appointee, regardless of that person’s credentials or experience. The ongoing noise about The Right Honourable David Johnston’s appointment to this position is an unfortunate distraction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s making.
The public inquiry ought to be run by a truly independent person with expertise on the issues of national security and intelligence.
‘They had six years to order changes’: A chief of staff explains why the Johnston report ‘doesn’t compute’
‘Anything reported to PMO is assumed to be important, otherwise it wouldn’t be sent over’
(The Hub) Ian Brodie: “I received intelligence reporting on paper and with in-person briefings because I did not have a Top-Secret facility in my office. Intelligence analysts were always on hand to provide background as to why a report was in my folder that day. I assume Mr. Mendicino meets regularly with his deputy minister — ministers are expected to make time to meet with their department officials regularly — and I am sure his deputy would have been able to hand-deliver intelligence reporting at one of these meetings. Again, given that this intelligence report dealt with a foreign government’s effort to punish a MP’s family for a vote taken in the House of Commons, I cannot imagine any official, let alone a deputy minister, deciding not to send that report to the minister. And if the minister refused to take it, to have PCO intervene to make sure the reporting was shared with political people — ministers and senior political staff.”
‘There’s something fundamentally broken’: The Hub Roundtable dives deep into the Johnston report
Poilievre calls on Singh to force a foreign interference inquiry
Opposition parties are demanding a public inquiry after Johnston chose not to recommend one
Trudeau won’t overrule David Johnston’s recommendation for no public inquiry into foreign interference
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will not call an independent public inquiry into Chinese interference in Canadian politics after former governor-general David 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.
What else we learned from David Johnston’s interference report
(Global news) Johnston told reporters on Tuesday that his family and Trudeau’s enjoyed “only on a few ski expeditions” when Trudeau was a child, and noted the families had cottages near each other in Quebec. He would later see Trudeau “from time to time” when the future prime minister was a student at McGill University while Johnston served as the school’s principal.
But Johnston said he had no relationship with Trudeau beyond that.
“In that period of time until he became a Liberal member of Parliament and I was governor general, I had no meetings with Justin Trudeau, I had no letters that I can recall, no telephone calls,” he said, adding the next time they encountered each other was at Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s funeral.
Matt Gurney: The Johnston report is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever read
Most of the commentary over the special rapporteur’s report is going to miss the plain, simple truth he reveals: we are just totally, epically boned
(The Line) One of Justice Rouleau’s most staggering conclusions in the [Public Order Emergency Commission] POEC report is that what gave the convoyers the advantage — they held the capital for three weeks, recall — was that many of them had a professional background that involved at least some real-world experience in logistics and event planning and management. The federal government, in contrast, had none of that. As I wrote in my column then, “If your job requires you to manage a bunch of projects at the same time and coordinate different teams, especially if you mix in a bit of expertise in event planning and fleet operations, you are apparently probably capable of overthrowing the Canadian state.”
Though Johnston was fairly polite and understated in making his case, this is broadly the version of things he is sketching out for us. Trudeau isn’t compromised or corrupt, he’s just atop a government that’s so borked that the prime minister and his government couldn’t have done any better. The machine is just too broken.
Parliament has spoken: We need an independent public inquiry
(Globe editorial) Parliament has already spoken on the need for an independent public inquiry into China’s meddling in Canada’s electoral system. Opposition parties united to vote in favour of an inquiry, with the (non-binding) motion passing 172-149. The will of Parliament is clear – and it is equally clear that former governor-general David Johnston’s report on foreign interference defies that will.
To have any legitimacy, such defiance would have to lay out indisputable proof that the federal government responded prudently and quickly to China’s provocations. Instead, Mr. Johnston insists that any evidence is classified, and Canadians must simply take his word for it.
… The King’s representative in Canada must remain above partisan politics; that maxim should apply not just to the current resident of Rideau Hall but to past office holders, as well. Mr. Johnston may well believe he has fulfilled that duty, but the fact remains that he is publicly defending the government’s actions and opening himself up to criticism.
To make matters worse, Mr. Johnston has now entangled the Supreme Court, by asking former justice Frank Iacobucci for an opinion as to whether he was in a conflict of interest. Former justices, like former governors-general, should avoid entering the political arena and thereby linking their non-partisan institution to a partisan debate.
John Ivison: The fatal flaw in David Johnston’s Chinese interference report is David Johnston
The former governor general would have been wise to step aside
David Johnston’s first report on foreign interference states at the outset that democracy is built on trust.
It is truly unfortunate that his rejection of a full public inquiry is likely to further erode faith that is already wavering.
The special rapporteur appointed by Justin Trudeau in March to look into interference in Canadian elections concluded that foreign governments are trying to influence voters; that media reports have been “misconstrued”; and that there is “no convincing evidence” to support the most serious allegations that the prime minister failed to act on recommendations from the security agencies. … Those conclusions allowed him to recommend that a public inquiry is unnecessary, since it would duplicate his efforts and could not be held in public because of the sensitivity of the intelligence involved. Instead, he said the best path forward is that he himself holds public hearings and reports back in October.
Johnston sneers at the public in Chinese interference report
To absolve Trudeau of responsibility because no one specifically told him what to do and when to do it is farcical
In his report, Johnston concludes many of the questions about what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior Liberals knew and when they knew it, along with allegations against MP Han Dong, are baseless. He excuses Trudeau’s inaction on foreign interference by repeatedly saying no specific recommendations were made to the prime minister, and so he could not have ignored recommendations.
This might be supportable if elected leaders, and in particular prime ministers, weren’t elected to make decisions and take action.
David Johnston in a box – Or, what to expect on Tuesday
(Wesley Wark’s National Security and Intelligence Newsletter) The key consideration in Mr. Johnston’s mandate, if looked at calmly, reasonably, is not public inquiry. That just one possible outcome—though possibly unavoidable in the media/political climate. The key is additional mechanisms or transparent processes necessary to “answer any issues…”
So what are the issues that Mr. Johnston has been asked to “answer.” They are essentially four:
The first is the “extent and impact of foreign interference in Canada’s electoral processes” (going back to the 2019 election).
The second is the work of the national security and intelligence system in monitoring the threat of foreign interference
The third concerns the interface between intelligence and policy-makers, particularly at the political level. What were decision-makers told? What did they do about warnings (or tell their agencies to do)?
The fourth is governance, especially with regard to the ability to coordinate intelligence reporting and responses across a decentralized national security and intelligence system.
The work of the intelligence system on foreign interference (and other current national security threats) is the thing that may require “additional mechanisms or transparent processes.”
May I just say that a CIGI special report Reimagining a Canadian National Security Strategy, published in early December 2021 had already reached this conclusion, even without leaks of classified documents! (Self-promotion alert).
The diplomatic expulsions could provide a welcome reset of Canada’s relationship with China
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016.
(Globe & Mail) The expulsion of Toronto-based Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei, followed by the removal of Canadian consul Jennifer Lynn Lalonde in Shanghai, signals a growing deterioration in the relationship between Canada and China. But while we are going through tumultuous times, it may also serve as a new beginning with China – one where Canada can better protect its interests and values, as well as its citizens from foreign interference.
The fact that China chose not to escalate the situation (they could have expelled a more senior diplomat than Ms. Lalonde or a few people at her level) shows that it is also making efforts to contain the problem. Barring further measures from Canada (not expected in the short run), China is unlikely to impose economic sanctions on Canada, as this would send a bad message to foreign business people whom China, faced with a challenging economic situation, is trying to convince to come back and invest in the country.
Of course, many questions remain on why so little action has been taken so far by the Canadian government to counter Chinese interference.
Canada expelling diplomat accused of targeting MP Michael Chong’s family
(CBC) The government has been under intense pressure to sanction Zhao Wei, who reportedly played a role in attempts to gather information on Chong’s family in Hong Kong in 2021 following the MP’s condemnation of Beijing’s conduct in the Xinjiang region as genocide.
Canada declares Zhao Wei ‘persona non grata,’ expels Chinese diplomat
The Canadian government has expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei for interfering in Canadian politics after a week of cabinet-level preparations bracing for a range of potential retaliatory responses.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, who announced the rare measure Monday, said the decision was taken following “careful consideration of all factors at play” in the matter.
“I have been clear: We will not tolerate any form of foreign interference in our internal affairs,” she said in a statement.
The extraordinary expulsion – the first of a Chinese diplomat in decades – carries substantial consequences given the size of Canada’s economic and social ties with China. It is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and second-highest source of immigration.
Why did Canada take so long to expel China’s diplomat? It’s our trade relationship
By Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and a former senior official in Canada’s Department of Finance
(Globe & Mail opinion) One would have thought that Zhao Wei, a Chinese diplomat and suspected intelligence officer, would have been sent home by the evening the news broke that he was part of an effort by Beijing to target MP Michael Chong’s family – or better still, two years ago when CSIS first learned about this.
But the expulsion came a week after The Globe and Mail brought the matter to the public’s attention. Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly had said the government was considering what economic, consular and diplomatic retaliation might be visited upon Canada if it went through with the move.
Why did our government seemingly hold back on expelling a Chinese agent for an offence against a sitting member of Parliament on Canadian soil? And why did it do so only when its hand was forced by public blowback?
The answer lies in the highly asymmetric trading relationship between the two countries – an asymmetry that makes Canada economically dependent upon China.
It has been every nation’s experience that China demonstrates erratic and belligerent behaviour when it is criticized, always starting with denial.
Decision on Chinese diplomat being made ‘very, very carefully:’ Trudeau
There is growing political pressure to expel a Chinese diplomat from Canada over alleged attempts to threaten a Conservative MP. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says all options are on the table but that the government must weigh the potential of retaliation.
Trudeau’s words Sunday echoed Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly’s response to questions about foreign interference in an interviewing airing on Rosemary Barton Live. Joly told CBC chief political correspondent that she was weighing the consequences of action.
“It’s about [Chong], but it’s also about the interests of the country, and as foreign minister I have to make sure that it is the right decision. And it will be the right decision.” She added that “all options are on the table.”
Joly said that Canada had learned from the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor that China could react in a way that negatively affected Canada on a broad range of levels, from economic to consular.
Conservative MP Michael Chong discovered only last week after a report in the Globe and Mail that CSIS had information in 2021 that the Chinese government was looking at ways to intimidate him and his extended family in Hong Kong.
Chong had sponsored a motion in the House of Commons labelling Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China a genocide.
Trudeau has said CSIS did not tell anyone outside the spy agency about the threats, but Chong has said he was told the national security adviser knew about the information.
The revelation about Chong is the latest in a string of foreign interference attempts allegedly made by the Chinese government in Canada in recent years, including efforts to influence the results of the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
All political parties have agreed any attempted interference did not affect the final outcome of those elections, but Trudeau has appointed a special rapporteur to dig into what has happened and how Canada has and should respond.
How far is too far with China?
Trudeau and Biden line up … to take on China
(GZERO North) In a speech last week in New York, PM Justin Trudeau took a shot at China while talking up Canada’s lithium production.
“The lithium produced in Canada is going to be more expensive because we don’t use slave labor because we put forward environmental responsibility as something we actually expect to be abided by because we count on working … in partnership with indigenous peoples, paying fair living wages, expecting security and safety standards.”
Trudeau was trying to frame a policy choice for Americans: buy virtuous, ethical Canadian lithium or unethical, Chinese lithium. This message, which Trudeau and Deputy PM & Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland keep delivering, is in line with President Joe Biden’s priority of friend-shoring, or trading with reliable partners – not China.
Chinese hostage diplomacy seems to have finally forced Canada to reassess its relationship, but even after that, it was slower than its allies to respond to the snarling “wolf warriors” of Beijing. Canada was the last of the Five Eyes to ban Huawei from its cell networks, was slower than the US to ban TikTok from federal government phones, and has yet to decide if it will bring in a foreign agent registry or take other steps to counter Chinese interference in Canadian politics.
China views Canada as a ‘high priority’ for interference: CSIS report
(Globe & Mail) China sees Canada as a “high-priority target” and employs “incentives and punishment” as part of a vast influence network directed at legislators, business executives and diaspora communities in this country, according to a top-secret intelligence assessment from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The CSIS report is an overview of Chinese government foreign interference in Canada, ranging from investigating a Conservative MP’s relatives in China to harassing a mainland Chinese student in Canada who publicly supported Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
The report warned that Beijing is the “foremost perpetrator” of foreign interference in Canada. Its agents are unconcerned about repercussions, the report says, because of the lack of obstacles such as a foreign-influence registry of the kind established in the United States and Australia.
It’s not known whether elected officials in Canada gained access to the report, which was produced by the agency’s Intelligence Assessment Branch and dated July 20, 2021, several weeks before the federal election campaign got under way. The assessment is presented as a “baseline for understanding the intent, motives and scope” of Beijing’s foreign interference in Canada.
Trudeau Foundation misled public by stating China-linked donation was Canadian: ex-official
(CBC) The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation misled Canadians when it said that a controversial donation made by two Chinese businessmen qualified as a Canadian donation, the former president of the foundation told MPs on Friday.
Testifying before the House of Commons ethics committee, Pascale Fournier said her predecessor Morris Rosenberg told the National Post in December 2016 that the foundation didn’t consider the donation to be foreign money because it was made by a company incorporated in Canada.
“This was a declaration on behalf of the foundation to say that it was not foreign money, that it was Canadian money,” Fournier told MPs. “This was in the annual report as well. When, in fact, the tax receipt itself mentions China.
Fournier’s testimony is the latest twist in a complicated tale involving a $200,000 donation to the foundation — $60,000 of which was never sent. Because the donation was made to fund conferences centred on Canada-China relations which were never held, Fournier said, the money was never spent.
More light is expected to be shed on the donation Wednesday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s brother Alexandre Trudeau, who is involved in the foundation, is scheduled to testify.
Sacha Trudeau says he ‘wants to testify’ to defend Trudeau Foundation: report
The PM’s brother reportedly negotiated and signed the deal for a $200,000 donation from a Chinese billionaire in 2016
Telford says national security limits what she can say on foreign interference
Katie Telford said she should not be at the procedure and House affairs committee answering questions about national security, but she agreed to appear “because I want Parliament to work.”
Katie Telford testifies no national security intelligence withheld from PM Trudeau
(Globe & Mail) Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff told members of Parliament Friday that nothing is kept from the Prime Minister when it comes to national security and foreign interference, but Katie Telford offered little insight into when he was first apprised of meddling by Beijing in Canadian politics. …
Mr. Trudeau has also asked two closed-door panels, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), to study China’s interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections. The results of their work will be reviewed by Mr. Johnston. He will have until May 23 to make a recommendation on whether to call a public inquiry.
« Ce don, c’est une bombe puante »
La Presse a pu s’entretenir avec cinq personnes qui ont démissionné à la Fondation Trudeau à cause de questions « d’éthique » soulevées par un don émanant de la Chine.
Trudeau Foundation president, board resign, citing ‘politicization’ of China-linked donation
Charity’s leadership cites controversy over Beijing-linked donor to explain the move
(CBC) In a statement, the foundation said that a $200,000 donation in 2016 from a businessman linked to the Chinese government “has put a great deal of pressure on the foundation’s management and volunteer board of directors, as well as on our staff and our community.”
Campbell Clark: Too many lines converge at the intersection of Trudeau and foundation
…it sure seems that a Chinese businessman named Zhang Bin was going out of his way to create an intersection between Mr. Trudeau and the Trudeau foundation seven years ago, in 2016, when he gave $200,000 to the foundation. In retrospect, the fortuitous nature of this donation probably should have raised a few questions about intersections. Now people are looking for them.
It didn’t help that the former senior civil servant who wrote the report on the panel that watched for interference in the 2021 election, Morris Rosenberg, had been the CEO of the Trudeau foundation from 2014 to 2018. Or that the special rapporteur appointed by Mr. Trudeau to review the whole business, former governor-general David Johnston, had links to the foundation, too.
Trudeau Foundation asks Auditor-General to investigate donation from Chinese benefactors
A foundation official said the chair of the foundation, Ted Johnson, wrote to Auditor-General Karen Hogan on Friday to request a formal audit of the non-profit organization.
Andrew Coyne: ‘These stories are based on unnamed sources,’ and other Liberal deflections
Let us suppose for the moment that the stories are true. It is plainly in the public interest to know by what means China attempted to tilt our elections, for what reasons, with what success, and with what assistance – witting or unwitting, by commission or omission – from domestic sources.
Trudeau Foundation returning $200K to Beijing-linked donor
(CBC) The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is returning a donation worth thousands of dollars made by an adviser to the Chinese government.
In 2016, Zhang Bin, a wealthy Chinese businessman and adviser to the Chinese government, made a donation to the foundation worth $200,000.
CSIS uncovered Chinese plan to donate to Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
(Globe & Mail) China appears to have targeted Justin Trudeau in a foreign influence operation after he became Liberal Leader in 2013, according to a national security source who said Beijing’s plan involved donating a significant sum of money to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
The source said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service captured a conversation in 2014 between an unnamed commercial attaché at one of China’s consulates in Canada and billionaire Zhang Bin, a political adviser to the government in Beijing and a senior official in China’s network of state promoters around the world.
In his most recent newsletter, Colin Robertson features his review of ‘Canada and China’: The Bilateral Journey, from Trudeau to Trudeau by B. Michael Frolic.
He reminds his readers of then-Global Affairs Minister Marc Garneau’s statement following the release of the Two Michaels: when it comes to normalizing relations Canada’s “eyes are wide open” and the government is now following a four-fold approach to China: “coexist,” “compete,” “co-operate,” and “challenge.”
China accuses Canada of ‘sensationalizing’ and smearing reputation over alleged secret police stations
‘China has been… strictly abiding by international law and respecting all countries’ judicial sovereignty’
Andrew Coyne: The Prime Minister could clear up the most important questions about China’s interference in our elections – simply by answering them
Wednesday was a gruesome day for the Prime Minister. It began with a report by Global News citing two high-level memos to the Prime Minister’s Office warning, in highly specific terms, not just about foreign interference in our elections generally, but about infiltration and funding of Liberal campaigns by the government of China.
The first, a “Special Report” prepared by the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat within the Privy Council Office – which reports directly to the Prime Minister – warned that Chinese officials had passed money via intermediaries to a clandestine network of 11 candidates in the 2019 election.
… The second was an unredacted version of a 2019 report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), the same all-party committee the Prime Minister recently tasked with investigating matters arising from reports by Global News and The Globe and Mail.
The report says, inter alia, that “foreign states clandestinely direct contributions to and support for the campaigns and political parties of preferred candidates,” and that “targeting often begins during the nomination process.” According to Global News, it cites several examples of interference by China.
The Liberal government is in serious crisis mode on Chinese interference
Sam Routley, PhD Student, Political Science, Western University
(The Conversation) A series of leaked documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) have revealed the ways in which the Chinese government has attempted to tamper with Canadian elections. The story is a developing one, and many precise details remain unclear. It’s still to be determined, for example, where the leaks came from, why the information was leaked and whether it’s representative of the full scope of intelligence.
The Liberals have a lot to lose from a continuing public focus on the topic.
The allegations not only raise questions about the integrity of Canadian democracy itself, but also the complicity of the government in not properly addressing it — and the appearance, to put it more precisely, that the Liberals deliberately underplayed, denied or buried allegations of interference because they benefited from it.
Available information shows that both the prime minister and his staff were briefed, on multiple occasions, about indications of Chinese interference as it was happening in both the 2019 and 2021 elections. (emphasis added)
NB: In last week’s interview with Catherine Cullen former foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau says he’s concerned about preserving the integrity of Canada’s electoral process — though he says he was never briefed about allegations of Chinese interference in the 2021 election. (emphasis added)
RCMP investigating alleged Chinese government police stations in Quebec
(CBC) … Both centres have been open for decades, and have served as resource centres for Chinese and Asian communities. … In a statement, a spokesperson for the RCMP said investigators are taking steps to “detect and disrupt these criminal activities supported by a foreign state that could also threaten the safety of people living in Canada.”
Difficult to expel Chinese diplomats already in Canada without evidence of foreign interference, says Joly
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told MPs Thursday while she denied a visa to a suspected Chinese political operative last fall it is harder to expel Beijing’s diplomats already in Canada without clear evidence of their foreign interference.
Ms. Joly said Ottawa also has to weigh the risk of a tit-for-tat reaction from Beijing that could harm Canada’s ability to have “eyes and ears” on the ground in China
Trudeau orders probe into reports Beijing interfered in Canada’s elections
(Axios) Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he’ll appoint an independent special rapporteur to investigate allegations of a recent election interference campaign by China’s ruling Communist Party.
Why it matters: Trudeau has faced repeated calls to act after media reports emerged last month alleging that documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) showed a Beijing-backed drive to influence the outcome of Canada’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
Trudeau probes Chinese meddling
Well, this is awkward. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has appointed an independent investigator to assess allegations that the Chinese government interfered in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections … to help his party win. The reports are sketchy so far, and the interference was not so large that Beijing affected the electoral results. Still, Trudeau is in a tight spot. A fully transparent investigation could reveal details that are politically toxic to his government – particularly amid allegations that his office ignored reports of interference in 2019. But any evidence of soft-pedaling the probe could backfire in a similar way. For now, his government is projecting an air of total transparency in dealing with the story, but opposition leaders have already alleged a cover-up and are calling for a public hearing. Canada is hardly the only country concerned about alleged election meddling by China. Intelligence services in the US and Australia have voiced similar concerns, raising questions about how safe future elections will be.
Canada’s Trudeau launches China election meddling probes
(BBC) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that an independent special rapporteur will probe alleged Chinese interference in their recent elections.
The appointed investigator will review classified reports about the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and will make recommendations for future contests.
Federal government banning social media platform TikTok from government phones
Chief information officer made the decision citing security concerns
The federal government is removing and blocking the video-sharing platform TikTok from all federal government devices, citing security reasons.
In an email sent to Global Affairs employees Monday, department officials said the Chief Information Officer of Canada made the decision following a review. The review found that TikTok’s data collection methods could lead to cyber attacks, the email said.
Andrew Coyne: CSIS is worried about China interfering in our elections, even if the government isn’t
… That people at CSIS have been willing to leak it to the media, even at the risk of lengthy prison terms, suggests they are extremely concerned about it. At the least, they may be frustrated that the Trudeau government has been so uninterested in pursuing the matter. They may even have begun to wonder why.
The Liberals’ longstanding coziness with China is a matter of public record: the baffling decisions on takeovers of Canadian companies with sensitive security implications; the endless dithering over whether to allow Huawei to supply equipment to Canada’s 5G telephone networks; the appointments of Beijing cheerleaders John McCallum and Dominic Barton as ambassadors to China.
But these are public policy decisions, for which the government can be held to account. Even the revelation that China has targeted the Prime Minister, in particular, with an aggressive influence campaign – the cash-for-access fundraisers with Chinese billionaires, the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed to Mr. Trudeau’s family foundation – does not necessarily prove anything.
The Prime Minister, after all, might have adopted the same stance toward China even without such inducements. China’s preference for the Liberals may likewise have a perfectly innocent, i.e. appalling, explanation: that the Liberals are soft on China’s “basic dictatorship.”
Foreign interference did not affect outcome of 2021 election, report says
While the results of the 2021 election and its predecessor in 2019 were not altered by foreign interference, the report calls for national-security agencies to develop a program of unclassified briefings to boost the awareness that members of Parliament and senators have about foreign interference.
CSIS documents reveal Chinese strategy to influence Canada’s 2021 election
China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 federal election campaign as Chinese diplomats and their proxies backed the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals – but only to another minority government – and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.
The full extent of the Chinese interference operation is laid bare in both secret and top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents viewed by The Globe and Mail that cover the period before and after the September, 2021, election that returned the Liberals to office.
‘Canada and China’: The Bilateral Journey, from Trudeau to Trudeau
Colin Robertson reviews Canada and China: A Fifty-Year Journey
(Policy) The first step in B. Michael Frolic’s Canada and China: A Fifty-Year Journey begins with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s recognition of China in 1970 — a diplomatic watershed that predated the Nixon-Kissinger visit to China by more than a year and full US normalization by nine years. The book traces the thousand miles from the senior Trudeau’s breakthrough to Justin Trudeau’s relations with a much different China 50 years later.
… In his final chapter, “Resetting Relations”, Frolic observes that “understanding China is an elusive concept.” He concludes that “In the future, Canada’s relations with China will be pragmatic and pedestrian: middle power to big power, democracy to one-party state, without any illusions that they will be particularly special.” It’s a fair assessment.
The prime ministers who understood China the best are Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien. They each invested their personal time and effort into the relationship. Of the three, Pierre Trudeau captured the dilemma best when he told Frolic:
“I never thought it would be easy to work with China. It is an authoritarian state. But after I had been there, I realized China had to become part of the rest of the world, and we needed to know much more about it.”
Pierre Trudeau was right. And Frolic’s Canada and China is a good place to start learning more about China.
Ian Bremmer: It’s not over: Xi Jinping’s rebuke of Justin Trudeau could bring economic consequences
Chinese President Xi Jinping has a habit of bullying small democracies. Politically unchallenged at home and increasingly assertive abroad, China’s strongman leader responds with threats and intimidation when less powerful countries have the nerve to upset Beijing.
So when Mr. Xi confronted Justin Trudeau in full view of the world’s media at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last month, he was making an example of Canada’s Prime Minister. Mr. Trudeau’s supposed offence? Briefing reporters that he had raised alleged Chinese interference in Canadian elections during a short bilateral meeting. Mr. Xi’s behaviour was revealing. You can bet he would never speak like that to the U.S. President.
The episode – coming in the wake of China’s abduction of two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – should be clarifying. When Mr. Xi told Mr. Trudeau that in the aftermath of their confrontation, “the results can’t be predicted,” it wasn’t a veiled threat but a fairly direct one. There could be tangible consequences in store for Canada, particularly economic ones.
Canadian government suspends RCMP radio contract with Chinese-owned company
The federal government has suspended a $550,000 contract to supply the RCMP with radio equipment made by a Canadian company with Chinese owners after a backlash over the deal.
Sinclair Technologies, the supplier, is a division of Norsat International, a Vancouver company purchased by China’s Hytera Communications Corp. in 2017. Hytera was blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2021 over national security concerns.
Back then, the Trudeau government approved the sale to Hytera without a formal extended national security review, a decision that was criticized in Canada and the United States.
Trudeau government unveils long-awaited plan to confront an ‘increasingly disruptive’ China
Strategy promises a bigger Canadian military footprint in the region
Canada’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy describes China as “an increasingly disruptive global power” on the world stage — a social and economic force that’s too big to ignore but is also increasingly focused on bending international rules to suit its own interests.
Using some surprisingly blunt language, the strategy says the Canadian government needs to be “clear-eyed” about China’s objectives in the Far East and elsewhere. It promises to spend almost half a billion dollars over five years on improving military and intelligence co-operation with allies in the region.
“China’s rise, enabled by the same international rules and norms that it now increasingly disregards, has had an enormous impact on the Indo-Pacific, and it has ambitions to become the leading power in the region,” says the 26-page document, which was provided to the media in advance of its formal release in Vancouver on Sunday.
Benedict Rogers and his new book “The China Nexus” (YouTube)
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, and Optimum Publishing International are pleased to host British human rights activist and journalist Benedict Rogers for the launch of his book “The China Nexus”.
Benedict Rogers first went to China at age eighteen to teach English for six months in Qingdao, three years after the Tiananmen Square massacre. That opened the door to a thirty-year adventure with China, from teaching English in schools and hospitals to working as a journalist in Hong Kong for the first five years after the handover to travelling to China’s borders with Myanmar/Burma and North Korea to document the plight of refugees escaping from Beijing-backed satellite dictatorships and then campaigning for human rights in China. This book tells the story of his fight for freedom for the peoples of China and neighbouring countries Myanmar and North Korea and sets out how a global movement for human rights in China is emerging and what the free world should do next.
26 October-23 November
The RCMP is investigating Chinese ‘police’ stations in Canada. Here’s what to know
The RCMP says it is investigating “reports of criminal activity in relation to so-called Chinese ‘police’ stations” in Canada.
Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization based in Spain, alleged in a September report that China has established three overseas police “service stations” in Canada in accordance with Chinese-run associations as a tactic to capture individuals targeted by the Chinese government.
Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa commends Trudeau for standing up to China. But action must match the tough talk, she writes. McCuaig-Johnston provides five concrete measures the federal government can take today to stop foreign interference, including introducing comprehensive legislation on the problem as the United Kingdom did earlier this year.
5 ways for Canada to tackle Chinese interference after the Trudeau-Xi showdown
In recent weeks, Trudeau and his senior cabinet ministers have demonstrated courage in standing up to China. But words aren’t enough. Rhetoric must be matched with serious action. The issues are too urgent for complacency.
(The Conversation) In April 2021, Conservative MP Kenny Chiu was so concerned about potential Chinese interference in Canada’s political system that he proposed a Foreign Influence Registry Act similar to those in the United States and Australia. The act requires anyone acting on behalf of foreign interests to be publicly identified.
Soon after, bots were mobilized and a disinformation campaign was waged against Chiu on Chinese social media platforms, including WeChat and Weibo, calling him “anti-China,” misrepresenting the legislation and playing a role in his loss in the September 2021 election.
Global News recently reported that intelligence sources believe China’s Toronto consulate interfered in the 2019 federal election by providing $250,000 in funding via a Communist party proxy group to an alleged election interference network.
The group allegedly targeted at least 11 candidates in both the Liberal and Conservative parties whose victory China wanted to secure. Beijing also allegedly placed staffers in certain MPs’ offices to influence policy. …
To his credit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised his concerns about China’s interference in Canada in a face-to-face encounter with Xi Jinping at the recent G20 meeting in Bali. …
He’s to be commended for conveying that Canada will not stand for Chinese interference in Canadian political affairs. But what is the government doing now to hold Chinese individuals and organizations accountable? And what should it do?
Five steps in taking action …
CSIS is ‘increasingly concerned’ about China’s interference in Canada
(Global) Canada’s spy agency is growing “increasingly concerned” about China’s attempts to influence Canadian politics, a senior official told members of Parliament on Tuesday.
Why Xi Jinping publicly rebuked Justin Trudeau, and what it means for Canada’s relations with China
Trudeau and Xi spoke face to face briefly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday. After the unofficial meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a readout of the conversation noting the topics that were discussed and who raised them. The Chinese president expressed displeasure with the prime minister leaking their conversation to media
(CBC) According to the readout, during the brief discussion between the two leaders — who have been at odds over trade, China’s arrest and detention of two Canadians and Canada’s arrest and detention of a Chinese Huawei executive — Trudeau raised concerns about media reports that China covertly funded 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.
Xi Jinping’s threatening rebuke of Justin Trudeau was a rare and surprising move by the Chinese president, and highlighted the disregard he has for the Canadian prime minister, according to some experts and former diplomats.
“He certainly wouldn’t speak like that to the U.S. president. So it does suggest that Mr. Xi has a degree of disdain for the prime minister and does not see Canada as an important partner,” said Charles Burton, senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former diplomat to China. … “We have not seen the president of China engaging in this really quite undiplomatic, rough language with a counterpart leader of another country”
Guy Saint-Jacques, who was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016, said that this was all “preordained,” and that Xi wanted to pass along a clear message to Trudeau as the cameras were rolling.
Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer told Power & Politics that he believes Xi’s threat to Trudeau wasn’t veiled, but “fairly direct” and that there could be economic or diplomatic implications.
Trudeau left out in the cold as China’s Xi engages in a whirlwind of diplomacy at G20
(Globe & Mail) “Canada is still in the deep freeze,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Relations remain frayed since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver and Beijing’s subsequent jailing of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, she said, despite the release of Ms. Meng from house arrest and the two Canadians from prison.
Canada readies new Indo-Pacific strategy amid tense China ties
(Reuters) – Canada will soon announce a new Indo-Pacific strategy to challenge China on human rights issues while cooperating with the world’s second-biggest economy on climate change and other shared goals, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Wednesday.
Canada’s looming Indo-Pacific strategy warns of China entanglement, boosts India ties
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is warning businesses against deepening their ties with China as part of a long-anticipated Indo-Pacific strategy which she says is coming by early December.
… Canada’s foreign service will be tasked with training more China experts and placing them in “key embassies” around the world.
Ottawa seeks to cut China out of Canadian critical mineral industry
By Mia Rabson The Canadian Press
After a national security review, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is ordering three Chinese resource companies to sell their interests in Canadian critical mineral firms.
Champagne’s order comes less than a week after he said Canada would be limiting the involvement of foreign state-owned companies in the industry.
Critical minerals and metals, such as lithium, cadmium, nickel and cobalt, are essential components of everything from wind turbines and electric cars to laptops, solar panels and rechargeable batteries.
Chengze Lithium International Ltd. is required to divest its interests in Lithium Chile Inc., a company headquartered in Calgary with more than a dozen lithium projects underway in Chile.
And Zangge Mining Investment is ordered to sell its investment in Ultra Lithium Inc., a Vancouver-based resource development firm with lithium and gold projects in both Canada and Argentina.
Canada names Jennifer May as its first female ambassador to China
(Reuters) – Canada on Friday appointed Jennifer May its first female ambassador to China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, taking over a role that has been open since December of last year amid ongoing diplomatic tensions with the Asian economic powerhouse.
May is a veteran diplomat with 30 years’ experience, Trudeau said in a statement. She most recently served as Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, and during her career has worked in the Canadian missions in Beijing and Hong Kong.
China has encroached on Canada’s critical minerals industry, with almost no obstruction from Ottawa
For the past two decades, China has built up a powerful position in Canada’s critical minerals and mining sector, with little oversight from Ottawa
Niall McGee, Mining reporter
(Globe & Mail) Three years ago, Sinomine Resource Group Co., a Chinese company, quietly bought the Tanco mine in Manitoba. At the time, Tanco was one of the world’s few sources of the critical mineral cesium, a key input in atomic clocks and radiation detectors. The mine had previously produced lithium, a battery metal used in electric cars. …
Mining is one of the most capital-intensive industries on the planet, and so historically it made sense for Canadian miners to turn to China as a source of funding. But in recent years China has emerged as a clear national security threat.
Although Ottawa has made clear that it does not want to be beholden to a hostile foreign power for critical minerals such as lithium, so far there has been little in the way of action from the federal government to prevent that from happening.
… Messy headlines have been plentiful this year, after the federal government approved the sale of Canadian lithium development company Neo Lithium Corp. to Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group Ltd. The government’s decision not to order an advanced security screening drew severe criticism, culminating in parliamentary hearings that put the Industry Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, on the defensive.
Despite end of Meng Wanzhou and ‘two Michaels’ crises, chill lingers over Canada-China relations
Ottawa has not named a new ambassador to Beijing since Dominic Barton resigned, while China’s envoy departed Canada in January and apparently is still absent
Experts say a lack of a coherent strategy with well-defined aims is deepening the Canadian government’s China conundrum
(SCMP) On December 6, 2021, Canada’s ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, announced his resignation just months after the surprise resolution of the worst diplomatic crises in the history of Ottawa-Beijing relations.
In a parting statement that seemed an attempt to move relations beyond the difficult period, Barton wrote: “I believe that the relationship between Canada and China is of critical importance to our future … As I leave my role, my successor will be on strong footing to further this relationship.”
But six months on, the sprawling Canadian embassy compound in China’s capital is still waiting for its new boss.
“Whether it’s that the Canadian government has not proposed an ambassador to the Chinese authorities, or whether the Canadian government has proposed an ambassador and the Chinese authorities have not accepted that individual,” it was unclear why the post has been vacant for so long, said Charles Burton, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based think tank.
Cong Peiwu, the Chinese ambassador to Ottawa, went to China for “official business” in January and, as of May, had not returned because of “Covid-related lockdown”, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported, citing China’s diplomatic mission.
In December, Canada joined its Western allies in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics because of suspected human rights abuses in China. But in February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from a non-binding vote in the House of Commons that accused China of committing genocide against Uygurs in Xinjiang province.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly spoke with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in April and discussed “the challenges of recent years, including cases of arbitrary detentions and the importance of frank dialogue”.
In May, China lifted its three-year import ban on Canadian canola seeds. Before the freeze in March 2019, Canada exported around 40 per cent of its canola crop to China.
As Others ‘Decouple,’ Canada Moves to Mend China Relations
(VoA) At a time when the United States and some of its allies are seeking to reduce their dependence on China for strategic and other goods, Canada is looking to move past an ugly spat that drove relations with Beijing to a historic low.
Less than a year after the resolution of a dispute that saw a senior Huawai executive detained in Vancouver and two Canadians jailed for three years in China, trade between the two countries is setting new records and officials say they are eager to mend the relationship.
Robert Fife: Dominic Barton tapped to advise Canada on Indo-Pacific strategy
Dominic Barton, Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing who is now chair of Rio Tinto, is part of the new 14-member Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee
(Globe & Mail) Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has recruited an Indo-Pacific advisory committee that includes several pro-China advocates, among them Dominic Barton, Canada’s former ambassador to Beijing.
China will see Canada’s Huawei, ZTE bans as ‘a slap in the face,’ experts warn
(Global) Canada’s decision to ban Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G telecommunications network will be a blow to an already tense relationship with China, experts warn. Although it’s not yet clear if China will retaliate beyond strong condemnation of Canada’s decision, experts say the possibility exists that the risk has increased for Canadian travellers and businesses in China. Abigail Bimman looks at what a potential retaliation by Chiana could look like
The decision was also largely expected, even though it took years for the government to act. Canada is the last of the Five Eyes allies — which include the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — to restrict or ban the Chinese telecom giants over national security concerns.
Repeated delays in a decision by the government led Canadian telecommunications players to ink deals with other technology companies over the last three years, effectively freezing Huawei out of the market in the absence of a formal government decision.
Canada formally bans China’s Huawei, ZTE from 5G networks
The move comes amid deepening global concerns about Beijing’s disregard for international laws and human rights, and eight months after the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese prisons earlier this fall.
Mélanie Joly: Canada is working to rekindle relations with Beijing
Foreign minister tells Politico that Canada’s long-waited Indo-Pacific strategy will be released in the “coming weeks”
Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly says she’s focused on rebuilding Ottawa’s damaged relations with Beijing, an effort underway eight months after the close of a U.S. extradition case that ignited bilateral tensions.
Spirit of Trudeau’s Beijing Olympics diplomatic boycott not followed at home
B.C. politicians “participating in the propaganda” with Chinese Communist Party officials, critic says
By Bob Mackin
(BIV) In early December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canadian government would follow allies and not send politicians or diplomats to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, because of “repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.”
But Liberal MPs and other politicians in Metro Vancouver are continuing to engage with officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government on Canadian soil. Two Richmond politicians even expressed support for the Games and told a state-affiliated TV outlet that politics and sport should not mix.
Diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics won’t sever Canada-China relations
Canada will continue to engage with China, but with an “eyes-wide-open” approach after its largely symbolic diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics.
by Darren Touch
(Policy Options) The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics come at a perilous time in Sino relations with much of the western world. Canada is represented only by its athletes. Absent is the usual throng of official government representation as Canada has joined the diplomatic boycott with many other countries including the United States, Australia and Britain.
The Winter Games – and the Paralympics, set to start in March – represent an exciting time for Canada to showcase its natural competitive advantage as a northern country – a gold-standard competitor. However, the cloud of geopolitics hangs over the Olympics, on now until Feb. 20. The usual excitement will be challenged by the downward spiral of Canada-China relations, growing human rights concerns in Xinjiang against the Uyghur ethnic minority, and China’s increasingly aggressive and assertive behaviours toward Hong Kong, Taiwan and in the South China Sea.
Being largely symbolic, the diplomatic boycott is unlikely to change Beijing’s stance on issues of human rights in Xinjiang or the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong – which Beijing regards as a matter of internal affairs and, as such, free from foreign interference. The challenge for Canada and many other Western countries will be to determine how they manage a long-term relationship with China that protects and advances their interests and values.