Foreign Powers Using ‘High Profile’ Individuals to Influence Federal Officials: Government Document

by EditorT

A view of Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in a file photo. (Matthew Little/The Epoch Times)

By Peter Wilson

High-profile Canadians may be receiving payment from foreign countries in exchange for advancing their political interests, according to a question period briefing note from the Department of Public Safety. The document has been made public amidst increased scrutiny on China’s interference efforts in Canada.

The note, titled “Foreign Interference” and dated Jan. 19, says foreign governments and entities “regularly seek to influence Government of Canada’s policies, officials or democratic processes” using lawful means, such as through diplomacy.

It adds, however, that some foreign efforts to influence Canadian institutions and officials are done covertly.

“Some foreign states engage in acts of foreign interference to advance foreign political interests and influence federal officials and decision makers,” says the note, which was obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter and reviewed by The Epoch Times.

“As part of these efforts, they may employ individuals, some of whom may be high profile, to act on their behalf without disclosing ties to the foreign state.”

The note earlier names foreign states like China and Russia as some of the threat actors who attempt to “advance their political, economic and security interests to the detriment of Canada’s.”

In various sections, the note addresses “foreign interference” in Canada’s democracy and also foreign threats to communities and individuals.

“Although Canada’s electoral system is strong, threat actors have sought to target its politicians, political parties, elections, and media outlets in order to manipulate the Canadian public and interfere with Canada’s democracy,” it says.

Foreign Funding

The federal government has frequently addressed allegations of foreign interference in both the 2019 and 2021 elections following a Global News report in November saying the Chinese regime funded at least 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously acknowledged that he has been briefed by Canadian intelligence officials about general foreign interference attempts in Canadian affairs, but said he has received no specific information about “any federal candidates receiving money from China.”

Parliamentary committees have heard from multiple Canadian intelligence officials this year who have expressed concerns about covert Chinese funding of Canadian politicians.

“We are very concerned about the targeting. We know that there is certainly a desire to target elected officials at all levels of government—municipal, provincial, federal,” said Michelle Tessier, deputy director of operations for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), while testifying before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Nov. 1.

“We know China, amongst other countries, do try to target elected officials at all levels of government,” she added.

Former senior CSIS officer Michel Juneau-Katsuya also previously told the Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics that the security agency has had to surveil parliamentarians in the past who were suspected of working under the pay of foreign entities.

“There are parliamentarians at all levels—whether it’s municipal, provincial, or federal—that are being paid by foreign governments and that are not necessarily acting in the interests of Canada,” he said on Aug. 9.

“It was [happening] beforehand and it’s still happening. Foreign agencies try to recruit elected officials and it’s fairly easy because elected officials don’t necessarily listen to the security guidelines to protect themselves, or sometimes they may be ignorant or maybe serve their own self-interests.”

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino previously told the House that the federal government takes reports of foreign interference “very seriously.”

“We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our interests here and abroad,” he said on Dec. 5.

Andrew Chen contributed to this report. 


Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.

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