Why doesn’t Canada catch Chinese spies?


News analysis

Security expert Julian Spencer-Churchill asks why Canada can’t convict Chinese spies.

“We have a history of infiltration. No one has been convicted. And based on the rate of what is happening in the United States. [regarding convicting spies]Spencer Churchill, an associate professor of international relations at Concordia University, said in an interview.

His comments came after a recent incident in which a man accused of offering to provide Canadian military secrets to China was allowed to walk freely without facing a trial due to delays. increase.

In December, the Ontario High Court continued a criminal proceeding against Hamilton resident Qing Quentin Huang, citing the prosecution’s unreasonable delay in bringing the matter to trial. Huang was arrested eight years ago in 2013 for attempting to send confidential information about Canada’s shipbuilding strategy to China.

recently iPolitics Commentary, Spencer-Churchill said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and RCMP may not be equipped to deal with industrial espionage, and “political sensitivity” interferes with their functioning. I am.

In reference to a recent book, Willful Blindness, by research journalist Sam Cooper detailing money laundering activities at Vancouver casinos, Spencer Churchill wrote: Public policy, and elections. CSIS and RCMP have clearly failed to infiltrate or collect informants. Or maybe it’s rare to infiltrate. “

He was FBI Secretary Christopher Ray Said In 2020, his agency launched a new China-related counterintelligence case approximately every 10 hours, with half of the agency’s 5,000 active counterintelligence cases involving China.

“Americans have achieved a much higher level of conviction, so they are actually actively investigating and creating legislation that makes it illegal for the Chinese to identify military ties. “Masu,” Spencer Churchill told The Epoch Times. “There is no political will [in Canada].. The government is not putting pressure on intelligence agencies to do anything. “

He said similar problems had occurred during the Cold War, and Canada was less focused on catching spies, which was a “structural problem.”

Epoch Times Photo
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service building sign can be seen in the Ottawa file photo. (Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick)

The issue of Chinese agents and the depth at which they can invade institutions and governments at various levels is a rare measure earlier this month that the UK’s MI5 security agency warns that Chinese agents are active in parliament. Was emphasized when I took. Authorities said Christine Chin Kui Lee, who runs a law firm in London, is working with China’s United Front Work Department (UFWD) to “connect” with the British Communist Party (CCP) MPs. “Established”.

UFWD is the organization of the Chinese government responsible for expanding Beijing’s influence operations.

Following the revelation, British Home Secretary Priti Patel said her government would introduce a new law to combat foreign interference.

In his commentary, Spencer-Churchill enacted legislation requiring Australia and the United States to register foreign agents, including journalists working in China’s state media, to help tackle the issue of Chinese espionage. It states.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery is currently considering offering membership to the CCP’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

In 2011, when it was revealed that Bob Decert, a conservative lawmaker and then secretary to the Foreign Minister John Baird’s parliament, was sending a “flirty mail” with Xinhua reporter Si Rong. It went up.

Recently obtained government report Global news Beijing said it is conducting a “systematic campaign of information gathering, persuading, influence and manipulation” against the Chinese community in Canada.

Legal and political system

In the case of Huang, the main factor causing the delay was the delay time to provide the information required by his defense team under the protection of national security. The Federal Prosecution Service is currently considering the case to decide whether to appeal. Huang claims he is innocent.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. (Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick)

Ari Goldkind, a criminal lawyer based in Toronto, said the way the case was unfolded sends a bad message.

“It sends a message to everyone who commits this kind of crime. You probably won’t be caught, and if you’re caught, hire the right lawyer, spend enough money, and drag it out. Please, and the court will bid for you, “he said in an interview.

According to Goldkind, Canada is not effectively facing the problem of China’s espionage for multiple reasons.

“First, there is a lack of resources to draw true, complete, comprehensive police attention to thousands of Canadian spies in China,” he said.

Canada is inflowing net money into China through trade imbalances and criminal activity related to China, but Goldkind said: Property, and perhaps just as important, is Canada’s political secrets and other top secret security issues. “

Other factors include a lack of specialized prosecutors who can handle these espionage cases in a timely and specialized manner, and delays when national security issues are involved, he says. .. He says the government should deal with these delays to ensure that such cases are not prosecuted for too long.

But beyond the challenges of the legal system, there are major issues within the political system that lead to ineffective follow-up of espionage cases, says Goldkind.

“Both obstacles [legal and political] It can change quickly, and perhaps the political system can change even more quickly, [it’s different] Those who wonder why there are so many 21-year-olds driving Lamborghini driving Vancouver and Toronto, the impact of triad money on the system due to the elimination of influence, the grease on the wheels of politicians. For, “he says.

“We don’t need anything from Namibia, so we don’t kowtow to Namibia …. We are not slaves to Luxembourg,” he says. But not when politicians rely on “China’s influence, China’s votes, and the Chinese dollar” to stay in power.

Exacerbating the problem is that in the “moment of awakening from 2021 to 2022”, criticisms of these problems are attacked with the label “anti-Chinese” or “xenophobia”.

Politicians see how the media reports on those who raise such issues and how they are portrayed as “anti-Asians,” and the issue is not the Chinese, but the ruling system.

“Politicians say that middle-class voters continue to drive Ford Bronco in 2008, live in middle-class homes with significant mortgages, and are funded by the same taxpayers that the middle-class paid. I’m happy to be driving on the road, because of the criminal syndication organized by millionaires, “he says.

Priority

Retired RCMP officer Andy Brooke says Canadian security agencies are actively investigating espionage and foreign interference cases. This was demonstrated in a December case in which RCMP charged a Quebec man who allegedly used his position as an engineer at the Canadian Space Agency to negotiate a satellite technology agreement with Iceland on behalf of a Chinese company. I did.

However, Brooke, who was involved in the investigation of anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering cases, is wondering how well the cases will be followed up.

“In that case, will it continue, or will it continue quietly? [like in the Huang case] After a few months, everyone will forget about it unless the journalist takes it on their own to follow it, and it will fall off the radar when it’s rejected, “Brook said in an interview.

Epoch Times Photo
The RCMP logo appears on the file photo outside the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” headquarters in Sally, British Columbia. (Canadian Press / Darryl Dyke)

At the “grassroots level”, RCMP has very capable investigators, but there is a priority issue.

“Looking at this year’s RCMP business plan and looking at the words used, there’s little about actually fighting crime. Diversity and inclusiveness are more important than fighting crime,” says Brooke. increase.

“The government’s message pervades RCMP’s business plans, so it’s hard to imagine that the government’s message is also affecting operations.”

But in recent years, he says, there have been more concerns about change, and in some cases political interference.

Brooke, who is helping the family of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which was shot down by Iran in 2020, seek justice, has little to do with the Canadian government on the file, even words to mitigate Iran’s negligence. Say you are using it. He says Canada is a close ally of China, although he says he doesn’t know why, given that Canada has very few deals with Iran.

“We can see that there is China behind Iran,” he says.

Another case Brook mentions regarding the politicization of the investigation was the 2020 Nova Scotia attack, in which a man used illegal firearms to kill 22 people and injured three. He says official communication early after the tragedy was very poor in terms of how the guns were obtained and whether they were legal.

“The impression I got from the message was that it was being played. [because] Politically, it wouldn’t fit into the gun control story. ” “If the shooter was the owner of a licensed, clear, law-abiding gun with his own licensed weapon, it would have been released soon.”

Yet another example he cites is that in 2020 RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucchi first rejected the claim that there was “systematic racism” in power, which is really a problem. When I said that.

“She was simply under political pressure,” says Brooke. “It was very terrible, as the general public sees her remarks as a reflection on all the good members of the RCMP.”

The Epoch Times sought comment from the Canadian Department of Public Security and the Department of Justice, but did not respond by the issue time.

Associate Professor J. Paul de B. Tyrone of the Royal Military College of Canada said Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party government saw China as an alternative, as did his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It states that it is. US Trading Partners — Even at some point, in 2017 we pursued free trade options with the Communist Party administration.

But Beijing poses a threat to the West, Taillon says.

Chinese soldiers guard
On March 5, 2021, Chinese soldiers are guarding near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (Nicholas Asfori via Getty Images / AFP)

“We are focusing on elite capture entrepreneurial crimes. According to Canadian documents, to the extent that 22,828 Canadians died of opioids between January 2016 and March 2021 in the west. There are many open source indicators that indicate that you are involved in the opioid problem. Parliamentary study..

Taillon says that in the confrontation with the West, Communist China is following the strategy outlined in the 1999 book by two Chinese military officers entitled “Unlimited War.” This strategy involves the use of military and non-military tactics to destroy targets, such as drug wars, media wars, virtual wars, and idealistic wars.

“We are in a non-moving war with China, where China uses finance, diplomacy, networks and trade as a means,” he said.

“I think we are awakened to the threat. It’s been 20 years too late.”

Omid Ghoreishi

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Omid Ghoreishi is a Toronto-based Epoch Times reporter.