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Canadian House of Commons committee admits China operated ‘police service stations’ in 3 cities

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Canadians learned last Wednesday from MPs that “yes,” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operated police “stations” in multiple locations in Canada, which allegedly serve to target its citizens abroad, but no one has been held accountable yet for allowing this to happen.  

As per Blacklock’s Reporter, the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations noted in a report to Parliament titled Chinese Communist Party’s Overseas Police Service Stations that despite the CCP “police service stations” operating in three major Canadian cities, there have been “no arrests” made. 

“To date, no individuals have been arrested or had their diplomatic credentials removed in relation to the overseas police service stations,” the committee wrote in its report.  

The police stations are currently being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) including “formal diplomatic protests to the Chinese Ambassador.” 

The committee report noted that although the CCP interprets its oversees police stations “as facilities providing administrative and consular services,” witnesses have stated that these stations also monitor “diaspora communities, collect civil intelligence, harass and intimidate individuals who are critical of China policies and assist China public security authorities with coerced return operations.”  

The committee’s report came about after human rights activists made multiple complaints that China was operating stations at more than 100 locations across the globe. The stations operating in Canada were in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area, and Montréal. 

Some Chinese Canadian politicians have downplayed the police stations, with Senator Yuen Pau Woo telling the Senate on May 31, 2023, that the stations were just recreation centers “providing community services to Chinese Canadians in Montréal.” 

Woo claimed that there is no “evidence” that these stations are CCP-linked police stations.  

However, Conservative Senator Leo Housakos said that those who are friends with China find the subject uneasy.  

Housakos noted that the “Trudeau government is doing absolutely nothing to combat foreign interference and defend Canadians of Chinese descent from intimidation.” 

LifeSiteNews reported late last year that a Spanish human rights organization had identified at least two additional Communist Chinese police “stations” operating in Canada, in addition to three already known. 

The “stations” are said to target Chinese nationals living abroad, often employing illegal methods such as blackmail to ensure the targeted persons do their former country’s bidding. 

In September 2022, LifeSiteNews reported that these stations have been linked to the Communist Party of China’s official law enforcement agency, the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB).  

According to Safeguard Defenders, there have been over 230,000 individuals sent back to China via these remote stations located in various nations, often under threat.   

The potential meddling in Canada’s elections by agents of the CCP has many Canadians worried, especially considering Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s past praise for China’s “basic dictatorship” and his labeling of the authoritarian nation as his favorite country other than his own.  

China is ‘after us’ in ‘negative way warned intelligence official back in 2021  

According to retired director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Richard Fadden, as per a 2021 testimony to the same committee, subterfuge by Chinese agents in Canada is a fact of life.  

“The great difficulty we have in Canada is the general public has trouble understanding that we’re threatened,” he noted.  

“They’re after us, if I can use the vernacular, from a whole variety of perspectives,” he noted adding, “And they’re after us in a negative sort of way.” 

Opposition parties, notably the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC), for weeks demanded that Trudeau launch a full independent public inquiry after news broke that the CCP had potentially meddled in Canada’s past two federal elections.  

However, instead of a full inquiry, Trudeau appointed former Governor General David Johnston as an “independent special rapporteur” to investigate the allegations. 

Trudeau’s “family friend” Johnston quit as “special rapporteur,” after a public outcry, after he concluded that there should not be a public inquiry into the matter. Conservative MPs demanded Johnston be replaced over his ties to both China and the Trudeau family.   

On September 7, 2023, the federal government announced it would be launching a public inquiry into potential foreign election interference, to be led by Quebec judge Marie-Josée Hogue.   

In September, LifeSiteNews reported on how leading Canadian computer scientist professor Benjamin Fung from McGill University said agents from China offered him a six-figure bribe if he agreed to become a stooge for the CCP.  

This report followed another from early September that noted how despite a continuous stream of evidence suggesting that CCP agents have interfered in Canada’s last two federal elections, the nation’s elections commissioner omitted any mention of China from her annual foreign interference report to Parliament. 

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Government-shackled interference inquiry unlikely to get answers

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From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Ryan Alford

” the commission will receive a large portion of its testimony in secret with no cross-examination by the parties. Additionally, the government will have the last word not merely on what information is provided to the inquiry, but on what the commission can publish — even in its final report “

The foreign interference inquiry into the 2019 and 2021 elections (also known as the “Hogue commission,” named for Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue) is holding preliminary hearings this week. Those with experience with public inquiries in general, and with the Rouleau commission into the emergency powers declaration of 2022 in particular, can see it will be a failure.

When it comes to public inquiries, the government makes the rules, and when it says, “Heads I win, tails you lose,” the only winning move is not to play. Those rules, written by the cabinet in the form of a public inquiry commission’s mandate and terms of reference, allow the government to reveal and restrict information about its own failures as it sees fit.

The most important feature of the Hogue commission’s mandate is the restriction on the information provided to the inquiry: the terms of reference state plainly that if the government didn’t provide a confidential cabinet document to Special Rapporteur David Johnston back in 2023 when he was tasked with looking into election interference without the authority of a public inquiry, the commissioner won’t see it, either.

The details that made it into Johnston’s final report were far more tame than what the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) allegedly told former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole when he led the party. O’Toole told Parliament that CSIS informed him that he had been targeted in an ongoing campaign of misinformation coordinated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). When asked, Johnston said that was news to him. (Subsequently, NDP MP Jenny Kwan added that CSIS had told her she was an “evergreen” target of Beijing.)

When Johnston was confronted about the discrepancies, he merely noted that the information CSIS revealed had not been made available to him at the time, and he had “reported on what was made available to us … the amount of information available was an ocean and we saw a very large lake.” (Unfortunately, Johnston could not see any issue with the political equivalent of investigating the causes of the sinking of the Titanic when directed to do so at Lac Tremblant).

Johnston concluded, based on the information provided to him by the government, that he could not attribute the misinformation spread during the 2021 election to state actors. Information coming from many unofficial sources — and via leaks — makes this untenable. Evidence also shows that Chinese Canadians in Richmond, B.C. were bombarded with slander targeting local Conservative MP Kenny Chiu on the WeChat social media platform.

The Hogue commission should add to its focus the activities of Senator Yuen Pau Woo — and the government’s knowledge of these activities. However, once again, the commission’s ability to investigate hinges entirely on the government’s willingness to hand over sensitive and potentially incriminating documents, and for those targeted by misinformation to speak freely knowing that information will be available immediately to those they named as their persecutors.

Until 2022, Woo served as the facilitator (i.e., caucus leader) of the Liberal-aligned Independent Senators Group. In a decision made on Dec. 4, Commissioner Hogue granted Woo the right to participate in the foreign interference inquiry as an intervenor, as “he will contribute the perspective of a political figure working to address issues of foreign interference while advocating for a community that risks being stigmatized or negatively impacted by counter-interference measures, whether proposed or put in place.”

Woo has been accused of adopting the CCP’s rhetoric but has denied working for China. Groups targeted by CCP intelligence operations in Canada (including Uyghurs and Hong Kongers) opposed Woo’s participation in the interference inquiry (along with that of politicians Han Dong and Michael Chan) on the ground that he would be allowed “access to sensitive information shared by witnesses or victims (and) will deter witnesses from speaking freely.”

Their concerns were aired around the same time as a report emerged alleging Woo had pledged to support the United Front, which is an arm of the CCP.  In December, investigative journalist Sam Cooper reported that a recording existed of Woo briefing the Canada Committee 100 Society — a Chinese cultural organization with ties to the United Front according to declassified American intelligence — in May of 2020. In that recording, Woo advised members that groups officially listed by the CCP as United Front Work Department (UFWD) organizations cannot (and presumably, will not) be considered agents of the Chinese state.

However, a Privy Council Office report from 2020 shows that the government knew the CCP’s UFWD had allegedly coordinated electoral interference through community groups. The report specified that the UFWD had facilitated electoral interference in 2019, noting that “the UFWD’s extensive network of quasi-official and local community and interest groups allow it to obfuscate communication and the flow of funds between Canadian targets and Chinese officials.” Despite all this, Woo had reassured the Canada Committee 100 Society that they could continue their activities.

It is already a given that the commission will receive a large portion of its testimony in secret with no cross-examination by the parties. Additionally, the government will have the last word not merely on what information is provided to the inquiry, but on what the commission can publish — even in its final report, as the commission’s terms of reference refer to disclosure procedures that clearly implicate the attorney general’s power to withhold information for the purpose of national security.

This is why the first two days of the inquiry were devoted to managing expectations about how the public’s right to know would need to be “balanced” against national security confidentiality and all the other reasons the government will invoke to justify withholding and censoring information.

It is ironic that at an inquiry made possible by whistleblowers within CSIS, those at the commission will be classed “persons personally bound to secrecy” by an order-in-council issued in tandem with the mandate of the Hogue commission. Most won’t mind; the Hogue commission hired a number of personnel who did yeoman service at the Rouleau commission, including its lead counsel and research council chair.

This time around, there have been no grand public assurances that the government is committed to providing unprecedented access to information. Rather, we’ve been put on notice that obfuscation and dithering over confidentiality will be used to beat us down.

Some parties, like the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, have already indicated they have had enough of the charade. Others, including those like members of Parliament Michael Chong and Jenny Kwan, who were the victims of shocking hostility and ineptitude from the CCP and the government, will likely persist, although it is already clear that they deserve much more information, and much better treatment from the Hogue commission.

As for myself, I can only say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Ryan Alford is a professor in the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

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The foreign interference inquiry could backfire on our national security

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From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Katherine Leung and Ivy Li

Two politicians alleged by security experts to have close connections with the Chinese Consulates have been granted full standing in the inquiry by Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue.

Canada’s public inquiry into foreign interference finally began on Monday, but unfortunately there has already been significant controversy in the months leading up to its launch. Chief among these concerns is the inquiry’s questionable ability to safeguard sensitive national security information from being used by individuals with ties to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Two politicians alleged by security experts to have close connections with the Chinese Consulates have been granted full standing in the inquiry by Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue. This decision shocked many, especially communities who have been subjected to the Chinese Communist Party’s transnational repression.

Given the inclusion of these two suspect individuals, human rights activists have expressed concern for their safety if they are called to testify before the inquiry. A human rights coalition, which was also granted full standing, appealed the inclusion of the two individuals – they merely asked Hogue to downgrade the politicians’ standing status in order to protect vulnerable witnesses – but the appeal was denied.

A person who has full standing in the inquiry has the right to cross-examine witnesses and to access documentary evidence not admitted as exhibits, meaning they read and see exactly what the judge reads and sees. Knowing anything and everything the Commission has learned gives unimpeded access to sensitive and confidential information related to Canadian national security, information that is not available to parties with lesser standing.

Information gathered by the Commission will almost certainly reveal how Canadian activists and security experts monitor foreign infiltration and influence. It could expose the methodology used, contacts and information sources, and the strategic approach and rationale of each expert or analyst. Together, these bits and pieces of information will provide a detailed strategic map, exposing how Canadian authorities, non-governmental organizations, grassroots groups, and individuals have attempted to defend Canada’s sovereignty and democratic institutions. This is powerful knowledge; it is not the type of information that should be available to the perpetrators of foreign interference.

By granting standing to individuals with alleged ties to the Chinese embassy, we are potentially offering incredible insight to our adversaries, enabling them to design and execute more effective interference operations and targeted counter actions against the Canadians standing up for our national sovereignty.

Among those granted full standing are Han Dong (the Member of Parliament for Don Valley North) and Michael Chan. Dong was reported by Global News to be at the centre of China’s interference network in Canada as a “willing affiliate”. He subsequently left the Liberal caucus as he works to clear his name, and he continues to sit as an independent MP. Michael Chan, now deputy mayor of Markham, was a minister in the Ontario Liberal government from 2007 to 2018. The Globe and Mail reported that he was identified by CSIS as “too close to the Chinese consulate.” Both Dong and Chan deny these allegations.

Hogue cites the two men’s reputational interest in the Public Inquiry as a direct and substantial interest in the Commission’s work. While that is true, the question remains whether it is in Canada’s interests and appropriate to allow individuals alleged to have close ties with the PRC full access to the Commission’s evidence and records.

The Commission is not mandated to determine if individual suspects are guilty or not. The two politicians could tell their side of the story without full access to non-exhibits and without the power of cross-examination.

Canadians have demanded a public inquiry to protect Canadian sovereignty and democratic integrity. Sensitive information pertaining to Canada’s national security should be handled with the utmost caution. Han Dong and Michael Chan should not be treated as though allegations against them have been proven beyond a doubt – they have not – but the clear potential of inappropriate links to the PRC should disqualify them from accessing information that would be detrimental to our national security if it were to fall into the wrong hands.

The public inquiry meant to protect Canada’s institutions from foreign interference may end up undermining both the safety of individual Canadians and the efficacy of our broader national security apparatus.

Katherine Leung is the policy advisor for Hong Kong Watch Canada. She previously worked as a parliamentary assistant to a sitting MP.

Ivy Li is a spokesperson for Canadian Friends of Hong Kong, and a contributor to The Mosaic Effect – How the Chinese Communist Party started a hybrid war in America’s backyard.

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