Oh, How They So Quickly Forget: What MPs Said

on the Hansard Record About Chinese Spying 

© 2010 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor 


When controversy erupts the existing record of ‘who said what’ can be not just useful, but critical, in assessing motives and undisclosed political, economic and foreign policy agendas.  A lot was articulated before CSIS Director Fadden spoke out about what the RCC was going to expose in August; and everything that politicians said that are different from what positions are now taken will come back to haunt them.  Inconsistencies and contradictions lead to a charge of hypocrisy, which is fatal to credibility and reputation. 



‘Oh how they so quickly forget’; or rather and more accurately ‘Oh, how much they think the Canadian public is stupid’.  Looking not even closely at what today’s political leaders who were yesterday’s backbenchers like Peter Mackay and Stockwell Day said about the issue raised by the CSIS Director, one observes nothing short of party hypocrisy given what this July 2nd Globe & Mail headline screams: ‘Spy Chief’s Remarks About Foreign Infiltration Wrong, Senior Tory Says’.  Even the current Prime Minister is on the record when Leader of the Opposition as agreeing with Fadden evidence.  


The Cons and Libs on Chinese espionage...back in the day

by Karina Roman

CBC News

June 23, 2010

Read article  


In light of … the (very) recent comments made by CSIS director Richard Fadden to CBC... it's worth a look back at what some Conservatives – when they were in opposition – said about China's possible influence on the Canadian government and what the Liberal government (at that time), had to say in response.  


Feb 2, 2005  


Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, clearly the Prime Minister did not raise the issue of industrial espionage with the Chinese leadership, even though last year CSIS reported to this Parliament that: 


...Canada's scientific and technological developments, critical economic and information infrastructure, military and other classified information, putting at risk Canada's national security.


It said that it was being sourced out by foreign spies, and a source said "particularly Chinese spies".


Did the Prime Minister raise with the Chinese leadership the active presence of Chinese spies stealing Canadian industrial secrets, yes or no?


Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the opposition could not care less about the bilateral relations between Canada and China. It has demonstrated absolutely no interest in understanding better a country that is emerging on the international scene as a very important power for all of us. We have been engaging China. We intend to continue to work with it. We raise the question of human rights every time we have the opportunity of doing that.


However I honestly believe that for Canadians it is quite important to engage in a bilateral relationship with China.


Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, respectful engagement is built on a relationship of trust and the People's Republic of China, according to our intelligence service, is engaging a network of spies to steal Canadian strategic and economic information.


Clearly, from these non-answers, the government did not raise this matter in the People's Republic of China. The first responsibility of a government is to protect our sovereignty and national security.


Why did the Prime Minister fail to do so by raising the active presence of Chinese spies in Canada?


Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, I believe there is a lot of temerity coming from the Calgary Southeast member, who participated in the trip, who was there for every photo op with the press and the journalists and who had a lot of courage when he was with the Canadian reporters, but who lost every opportunity to raise it with the Chinese people when he was on that trip.



June 15, 2005


Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, Hao Fengjun, a former police officer and Chinese defector, says that China has more than 1,000 spies operating in Canada.


Last December, CSIS said that foreign governments were resorting to economic espionage against Canada, and China has been one of the most enterprising in gaining access to information from sensitive industries, including the energy and technology sectors. Sidewinder is another example.


The Prime Minister was questioned about this in February. As usual, he refused to act. Can he now tell the House just how many Chinese spies have been arrested or deported? What is he going to do to protect Canadian sovereignty and security?


Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows full well, we are not going to discuss operational details of our intelligence gathering agency, CSIS, in the House or anywhere else.


I do want to reassure the hon. member and all Canadians that not only CSIS but the RCMP and other intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies are very much aware of the activities of various foreign governments in this country. We take all steps that are reasonable and necessary to protect not only the security of Canadians, but the economic security of our businesses in this country.


Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC):


In fact, Mr. Speaker, that is not very reassuring at all because the government knows the problem is there and yet does nothing.


Mr. Hao says that in addition to spying, China is conducting a campaign of intimidation and harassment against Falun Gong members, mainly in Toronto and Vancouver. This action is consistent with a CSIS report that foreign intelligence services manipulate, threaten and exploit expatriates living in Canada. Mr. Hao claims that he has given a Chinese intelligence report about a Falun Gong practitioner in Canada to the Australian authorities.


Will our government request a copy of this report from Australia and will it make a formal request to the Chinese government to cease and desist in the harassment of Canadian citizens?


Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of Falun Gong members and some of the allegations and assertions made in relation to their right to peacefully express their points of view and to peacefully associate and demonstrate in this country.


However, as I said earlier in response to the first part of the member's question, we do not discuss operational details. I have no intention of doing so now. I would ask the hon. member to respect the fact that agencies like CSIS could not conduct their activities on behalf of Canadians if we were expected to discuss operational details.


Mr. Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, when we raised the possibility of Chinese espionage in Canada, the government did not seem concerned in the least. Now a second Chinese defector is claiming that there is an operational network on Canadian soil.


Has the government called on Chinese officials here in Canada to get a full explanation, yes or no?


Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, we are always in touch with Chinese officials in the capital. We discuss a number of issues relating to the respect for human rights and the right of Canadian citizens to express themselves in the way they want. This is a free country. We will always insist that people are free to do so in this country. This is what we have been expressing to the Chinese officials.


Mr. Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla, CPC):


There was no answer there, Mr. Speaker.  We are not asking about the operations of CSIS. If these allegations are true, then clearly this has implications on our security and sovereignty. If the allegations are false, it has implications on our relations with China.


When the Prime Minister was in China in January and these allegations were out there, in the interests of Canadian sovereignty, did the Prime Minister raise these issues with officials? We are not talking about CSIS. Did he raise these issues at the diplomatic and political level?


Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, we never lose any opportunity to have discussions with Chinese officials here in this country. We will always ensure that the rights of citizens to express themselves in whatever way they choose will always be respected in Canada.



June 16, 2005:


Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): 


Mr. Speaker, for some time there has been growing evidence of a large spy network being operated in Canada by the Chinese government. Today the former head of the CSIS Asia desk confirmed reports from defectors that close to a thousand Chinese government agent spies had infiltrated Canada.


The Prime Minister has been evading answering this. I want to ask him very directly. Did the Prime Minister explicitly raise this violation of our sovereignty when he met with leading Chinese government officials in Beijing earlier this year?


Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, I dealt extensively with Canada's interests. I dealt extensively with Canada's sovereignty and the need to respect state sovereignty between countries.


It is also well known that Canada maintains a vigorous counter-intelligence program to safeguard Canada's security. It is also very clear, and Canadians can rest assured, that we maintain a very strong law enforcement and security system that will enable them to be assured of their own protection and security.


Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, judging from that answer, the Prime Minister did not explicitly raise this issue. Not only does a foreign spy network undermine our security, it is in this case damaging our economic interests.


Today the former head of the CSIS Asia desk has said that the Chinese government is engaged in industrial espionage that costs our economy $1 billion a month. 


Would the Prime Minister tell us whether he or anyone in his government has ever issued a formal protest of any kind for this type of activity in Canada by the Chinese government?


Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, we always take all these allegations very seriously. Clearly, we enjoy a very constructive dialogue with China. We work with the Chinese. We expect from them respect for our sovereignty. When they are here, they are meant to respect our Canadian laws.


When things are brought to our attention, we refer them to the appropriate authorities in our country.


Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, those are non-answers to a serious question of security and national sovereignty. We should be getting answers and they should be coming from the leader of the country.


It is a matter of public record that a foreign government is spying on the activities of Canadian citizens and engaging in industrial espionage.


Would the Prime Minister tell us whether his government plans to do anything at all about this in the future? 


Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):


Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear, as I was yesterday. CSIS and the RCMP are engaged in an ongoing basis in ensuring that the collective security and economic interests of our country are protected.


I have said before that I will not discuss operational detail. I can reassure the hon. member that CSIS and the RCMP do everything that is necessary and required, based on the circumstances of any given situation, to protect the collective security of Canadians.



June 17, 2005


Ms. Helena Guergis (Simcoe-Grey, CPC):


Mr. Speaker, for the last two weeks I have continuously asked this government why it is giving aid to communist China. I have pointed out examples from CIDA's own website, projects it says it funds in China with the various ministries of the Chinese government. Yet the minister continues to deny she gives money to China.


China has a deplorable human rights record. This week CBC reported that six farmers were killed while trying to defend their land from a company that wanted to build a power plant. Who owns the power plant? According to the Washington Post, it is the Chinese government.


Furthermore, China now reportedly has 1,000 spies in Canada. Who is paying for that? Canadians.


It is time the Liberal government stopped funding the communist government of China. Quite frankly, there is no reason that we should be giving aid to China. Not only is its human rights abysmal, it does not need our money.





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