Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CSIS warned this cabinet minister could be a threat. Ontario disagreed

Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (centre)
Canadian intelligence officials suspected Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan was under the undue influence of a foreign government, prompting CSIS to formally caution the province about the minister’s alleged conduct in a 2010 briefing.In the view of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Mr. Chan had developed too close a relationship with China’s consulate in Toronto, raising fears the minister was susceptible to interference from Beijing that could put Canada’s national interests at risk, a Globe and Mail investigation has found. The incident reveals a profound disconnect between the federal spy agency and the province on the question of foreign influence.

The minister, who remains in cabinet, was not suspected of treason, nor was he under investigation for espionage. But Mr. Chan’s unusually close ties to Chinese officials were of such concern to Canada’s spy agency that it took the extraordinary step of sending a senior official to raise the matter at Queen’s Park.

Through interviews with current government and former intelligence officials, as well as Mr. Chan himself, The Globe has pieced together the story behind former CSIS director Richard Fadden’s cryptic and controversial 2010 remarks – in which he said his agency had concerns that two provincial ministers of the Crown were under the influence of a foreign government. The country was China.  (more...)

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