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Shadier side to Trudeau’s sunny ways

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  • Shadier side to Trudeau’s sunny ways

    Justin Trudeau looks and sounds progressive, especially now that the world is turning to extreme or restrictive forms of nationalism. But he’s not what he seems.

    The media love Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), who won the federal election in October 2015. He is young and handsome, with the emblem of an Indigenous tribe, the Haida, tattooed on his upper arm, and 3.5 million followers on Facebook. The Economist has described him as an ‘example to the world’, E! Online as a ‘smoking-hot syrupy fox’. He features prominently in targeted online advertising for the New York Times which suddenly wants special coverage of Canada.

    He combines movie-star appeal with the charisma of Barack Obama and the folksiness of his father, Pierre Trudeau, prime minister 1968-79 and 1980-4. He has posed for photos with Syrian refugees and told an Ottawa mosque audience that Canada is ‘stronger because of the contributions of its Muslim community’. He claims to be a feminist, and committed to the cause of Indigenous Canadians; he is seen as cool, because he is in favour of legalising the recreational use of marijuana, and his name and face feature on packets of Zig-Zag cigarette rolling papers. As with Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi or French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron, his admirers see him as a 21st-century liberal, the antithesis of his conservative predecessor Stephen Harper, Theresa May or Donald Trump.

    As xenophobia sweeps the US and Europe, he declares his love of multiculturalism and diversity. Social media users and regular media have lauded his cabinet, which has gender parity and includes four Sikhs, two Indigenous Canadians, one Muslim and one Jew, though it is also 45% career politicians, 19% private and public sector administrators and 13% lawyers (1). Trudeau is proud of his team, especially defence minister, Harjkit Sajjan, whom he presented as an example of Canada’s ‘magnificent diversity’.

    Sajjan is a Sikh Canadian and a former Vancouver police officer (in 1996 he patented a beard-friendly gas mask) turned intelligence agent. While working with the intelligence services in Afghanistan in the 2000s, he was responsible for handing over Canadian-captured prisoners of war to the Afghan authorities, who tortured them. He also assisted in the US’s extraordinary rendition programme (2). But the media focuses on his beard and moustache: his Sikh identity is part of Canada’s new ideology of ‘sunny ways’.

    Trudeau also got elected by seeming to denounce austerity, economic inequality and lack of concrete action on climate change. He advocates what he calls ‘positive politics’ in contrast to the prevailing gloom, and in his victory speech told supporters: ‘We beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together ... Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways. That is what positive politics can do.’ His plans for infrastructure investment and a break with austerity made him appear further left than the New Democratic Party (NDP), the labour movement’s traditional party, which had seemed to move to the right after the death of its beloved leader Jack Layton, which hastened the move of trade unionists to the LPC. (Layton was replaced by a former member of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Tom Mulcair.)
    Collective bargaining

    Hassan Yussuf, leader of the Canadian Labour Congress and member of Unifor (3), said last September, a few days after the (temporary) resolution of the dispute between Canada Post and the powerful and combative Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), that there was a ‘sense of optimism’ in the labour movement. This shows the low expectations of the working class more than Trudeau’s commitment to their cause: the government had merely given its word that it would allow collective bargaining and not use the law to force them back to work — the opposite approach to the Harper government. Yussuf’s stance contrasts with that of the CUPW, which has vowed to continue to fight the restructuring of public services. At the same time, Unifor was making concessionary deals on pay and pensions with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-Fiat, in exchange for vague promises of investment.

    Many private sector union leaders, who have largely bought into ‘progressive competitiveness’, support Trudeau, convinced that he is best qualified to attract investors. He recently declared that ‘Canada, with its economic, fiscal, political, social stability is an extremely attractive place to do business’ (4). Yet many rank-and-file activists oppose his policy. Last October he was invited to a youth forum organised by the Canadian Labour Congress. Members of the audience criticised his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and booed when he suggested that precarious work was ‘a fact of life’. Trudeau is committed to TPP and the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA). While many political leaders and economists are rethinking free trade dogma, he remains an apologist for free trade, using arguments straight out of the 1990s: that freedom to trade promotes openness and friendship between nations. No wonder he is the darling of liberal publications such as The Economist.

    Trudeau separates words and actions, presenting himself as a defender of human rights while his country sells unprecedented quantities of arms to dictatorships. Canada has become the second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East (from sixth in 2014) after massive deals with Saudi Arabia. These improved trade links, which then foreign minister Stéphane Dion presented as a lever with which to exercise benevolent influence over the kingdom, were made possible by rewriting Canada’s arms export legislation. This previously made sales conditional on ‘wide-ranging consultations’ to evaluate their implications for international security and human rights; the new wording states that consultations ‘may be’ carried out. As John Bell of the Socialist Worker points out, the law originally stated that Canadian arms exports must not be ‘diverted to ends that could threaten the security of Canada, its allies, or other countries or people’; the Trudeau-approved wording drops the crucial reference to ‘other countries or people’ and replaces it with ‘civilians’.
    Balancing relations

    During the cold war, Pierre Trudeau took an original approach to diplomacy, balancing major powers — Canada had the US as its neighbour but was on good terms with Cuba and China — while building a strong welfare state and not hesitating to intervene in the economy, for example by nationalising oil production, with the support of the social-democratic NDP. Justin Trudeau has also chosen rapprochement with China, ending the tension that prevailed under Harper, who refused to attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Trudeau and his brothers admire Chinese society, in particular some of its anti-democratic qualities, such as efficiency. Last August Trudeau was warmly welcomed in China, where Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, called him the ‘future of Canada’. Three weeks after this visit, which led to $1.2bn in new contracts, Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang visited Ottawa. The heads of government announced that they would be starting negotiations on a free trade agreement, delighting Canada’s mining, agrifood and finance multinationals, as well as the Chinese-Canadian business community, which donates generously to the LPC.

    Though this rapprochement goes against Trump’s talk of a trade war with China, there are points on which Canadian and US policies converge. Trudeau approves of the intensive exploitation of oil sands, and the Keystone XL project, opposed by environmental activists and Indigenous communities. He also boasts of his special relationship with Argentina’s conservative president Mauricio Macri, whose father did business with Trump in the 1980s.

    Despite implying that he would be even-handed, Trudeau has not discontinued the pro-Israel policy of Harper’s government, and has even strengthened it. Last February he supported a Conservative Party motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, on the grounds that ‘demonisation and delegitimatisation’ of the state of Israel promoted antisemitism. In August, a schoolteacher in Mississauga, Ontario, was suspended over her involvement in Palestine solidarity campaigns.

    How is Trudeau able to get away with this, when he was elected as the ‘progressive’ candidate? He skilfully separates geopolitics and the economy from governance at home. There is an anti-racist tinge to some in his government, which is well-meaning if paternalistic. Trudeau claims to be concerned about colonialism in Canada. At a meeting with students at New York University last April, he said: ‘We have consistently marginalised [Indigenous peoples], engaged in colonial behaviour ... that has left a legacy of challenges.’ After Harper’s denial of the existence of colonialism, a government that claims to want to help Indigenous peoples seems an improvement.

    Yet Trudeau has in fact intensified colonisation of Indigenous territories. His ambiguous formulation reveals this: he talks about ‘people who live in Canada’, negating the colonisation of what Indigenous peoples and many progressive Canadians see as nations that overlap with Canada — a modern version of what Perry Anderson called ‘parcellised sovereignty’. Indigenous peoples are not ‘people who live in Canada’ or ‘minorities’ (like Jews or Koreans). The earliest agreements with European settlers in the 17th century recognise them as ‘nations’, dealing with the Canadian state as such. Last Canada Day, 1 July, Trudeau also upset many Québécois by referring to Canada as ‘one nation’. He was later forced to recognise that ‘Québécois form a nation within a united Canada’, in line with the House of Commons resolution of 2006.

    There is much talk of ‘helping the people up north’ among liberal Canadians concerned about Indigenous people who retain their ‘authenticity’. But apart from his terminology — which goes against his promise of establishing a new ‘nation-to-nation relationship’ — Trudeau is no more concerned for the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples than Harper. In October 2015, during a broadcast on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, Trudeau said that Indigenous peoples should have a right to veto mining developments on their land. This conforms to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007, which requires states to ‘consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples ... to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.’

    But Trudeau eventually approved environmentally damaging oil pipeline projects and seismic surveys that the Tsleil-Waututh nation of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, and the Inuit of Clyde River on Baffin Island, in the northern territory of Nunavut, have opposed for years. To justify this, natural resources minister Jim Carr has claimed that the government seeks to develop a ‘Canadian definition’ of the UN declaration, which neither Harper nor Trudeau signed. Long-term Indigenous activist Russ Diablo says this is part of the long history of liberal governments saying ‘nice things in public’, but doing business-as-usual colonialism. As noted by Indigenous affairs specialist Warren Bernauer, Canada’s National Energy Board itself has found that the surveys (now being challenged before the courts) do not satisfy the requirement for free, prior and informed consent.

    Trudeau is one of the last national leaders to defend migrants, minority rights and openness. Canadians may look at Trump, May, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán or Narendra Modi, at the possibility of Marine Le Pen, and breathe a sigh of relief. Yet this is where the danger lies. Trudeau’s ‘progressivism’ is part of a mutation of political divides. The left/centre/right system is being replaced by opposition between the proponents of economic and identity nationalism, and the defenders of capitalist globalisation. Trump and Trudeau are two sides of the same coin: time to change currencies?
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.


  • #2
    As someone who just voted for the Liberal party, I would admit that Trudeau is far from a great leader, his pandering to the woke crowd is irritating and his gaffes, sometimes arrogance and ethics scandals troubling. Nevertheless at the end of the day I am glad to live in a country where politics is boring and mundane rather than hysterical and mean spirited and where Trumpist/Nativist politics appeal to less than 10 percent of the electorate i.e. the People's Party of Canada.

    I think that it is too simplistic that politics is now a divide between economic/identify nationalism and defenders of Capitalist globalization. For all the noise and angry tweets, there was little that Trump did over 4 years to substantially reverse the Globalist economic trend and meaningfully address issues like outsourcing of jobs and rising inequality. The main achievements of his Presidency, the tax cuts and rolling back of regulations probably benefited the globalist class far more than working Americans.

    Meaningful action on many important issues of the day like climate change, reversing the rise of extreme inequality, reigning in Capitalism and justice for the working class people; any serious policy action appears to be coming from the Left; with the right more concerned with their grievances and 'owning the libs'.

    The right might be better on a few issues like defending the border, not pandering to the woke mobs and perhaps betting stewardship of the economy, when the centre right is still in charge. I did seriously consider a vote for the Conservative party in Canada, but with the current state of the Republicans in the US it would be unfathomable to ever consider voting for such a party.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Reuters
      16 November 2022
      China's Xi confronts Canada's Trudeau at G20
      (0 min, 51 sec)

      Chinese President Xi Jinping criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in person over alleged leaks of their closed-door meeting at the G20 summit, a rare public display of annoyance by the Chinese leader.
      Last edited by JRT; 17 Nov 22,, 05:40.


      • #4
        Xi clearly thinks he's in charge.


        • #5
          Xi clearly fucked up. A democratic nation will respect diplomacy behind closed doors as to NOT reveal what the Chinese had say but we are under zero obligation NOT to reveal what we have said. As far as China is concerned, Canada is a non-nation. . What's screwed up about this is that non-nations don't give a fuck what you think, especially one who challenges you in your own back yard.


          • #6
            Originally posted by InExile View Post
            As someone who just voted for the Liberal party, I would admit that Trudeau is far from a great leader.
            As an outsider that follows Canada a good bit, I think very little of him. He strikes me as what a U.S. would be ran like under Gavin Newsom. All show, little substance. Re China since that's the topic, Paul Wells has said repeatedly the Trudeau government has not had a China policy as far as how to engage them diplomatically since they came to power in 2015. Then there was news a week ago the CSIS reporting Chinese operatives had compromised political campaign teams and friendly-to-them politicians, mostly in the Toronto area.
            Last edited by rj1; 30 Nov 22,, 18:26.


            • #7
              Originally posted by rj1 View Post

              As an outsider that follows Canada a good bit, I think very little of him. He strikes me as what a U.S. would be ran like under Gavin Newsom. All show, little substance. Re China since that's the topic, Paul Wells has said repeatedly the Trudeau government has not had a China policy as far as how to engage them diplomatically since they came to power in 2015. Then there was news a week ago the CSIS reporting Chinese operatives had compromised political campaign teams and friendly-to-them politicians, mostly in the Toronto area.
              Relations with China were torpedoed in 2018 when the government arrested Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the US who wanted her extradited, and China retaliated by detaining the two Michaels. It pretty much revealed our limited diplomatic power and options and a reminder that we're a middle power. Since then, policy on China is essentially following what the US does.


              • #8
                Originally posted by statquo View Post
                Since then, policy on China is essentially following what the US does.
                Oh. I wasn't aware the Trudeau government had a policy.

                Canadian intelligence warned PM Trudeau that China covertly funded 2019 election candidates: Sources - National |

                Canadian intelligence officials have warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that China has allegedly been targeting Canada with a vast campaign of foreign interference, which includes funding a clandestine network of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election, according to Global News sources.

                Delivered to the prime minister and several cabinet members in a series of briefings and memos first presented in January, the allegations included other detailed examples of Beijing’s efforts to further its influence and, in turn, subvert Canada’s democratic process, sources said.

                Based on recent information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), those efforts allegedly involve payments through intermediaries to candidates affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), placing agents into the offices of MPs in order to influence policy, seeking to co-opt and corrupt former Canadian officials to gain leverage in Ottawa, and mounting aggressive campaigns to punish Canadian politicians whom the People’s Republic of China (PRC) views as threats to its interests.

                CSIS told Global News it could not answer some questions for this story. But the service confirmed it has identified the PRC’s foreign interference in Canada, which can include covert funding to influence election outcomes.
                “The Chinese Communist Party … is using all elements of state power to carry out activities that are a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty,” CSIS stated.

                The briefings did not identify the 2019 candidates. But the alleged election interference network included members from both the Liberal and Conservative parties, according to sources with knowledge of the briefs.

                Global News was not able to confirm from the sources which cabinet ministers may have been privy to the briefs nor the specific timing that the information was reportedly shared.

                Chief among the allegations is that CSIS reported that China’s Toronto consulate directed a large clandestine transfer of funds to a network of at least eleven federal election candidates and numerous Beijing operatives who worked as their campaign staffers.

                The funds were allegedly transferred through an Ontario provincial MPP and a federal election candidate staffer. Separate sources aware of the situation said a CCP proxy group, acting as an intermediary, transferred around $250,000.

                The 2022 briefs said that some, but not all, members of the alleged network are witting affiliates of the Chinese Communist Party.The intelligence did not conclude whether CSIS believes the network successfully influenced the October 2019 election results, sources say.
                Chinese actually did this in the U.S. way back in the 1996 elections where they had given a ton of money to Democratic congressional candidates and more than 100 people were involved. Democrats "refunded" all the money and said "they did not know it was from the Chinese government", and succeeded in making the congressional investigation a partisan he said she said endeavor. Republicans were never able to find evidence the scandal went up to Clinton but it's another one of about 20 or so things he was shady about but nothing stuck to him on. Still not as overt as what CSIS said happened here of they own an elected politician in Ontario, campaign staffers, and have their own police stations setup around the country.
                Last edited by rj1; 01 Dec 22,, 15:42.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rj1 View Post

                  Oh. I wasn't aware the Trudeau government had a policy.
                  I'm just saying Canada's China policy is following the US. If that's even considered policy, it's the closest thing I can tell.

                  Chinese actually did this in the U.S. way back in the 1996 elections where they had given a ton of money to Democratic congressional candidates and more than 100 people were involved. Democrats "refunded" all the money and said "they did not know it was from the Chinese government", and succeeded in making the congressional investigation a partisan he said she said endeavor. Republicans were never able to find evidence the scandal went up to Clinton but it's another one of about 20 or so things he was shady about but nothing stuck to him on. Still not as overt as what CSIS said happened here of they own an elected politician in Ontario, campaign staffers, and have their own police stations setup around the country.
                  China has been meddling on the west coast in Canada for a long time before Trudeau.

                  Is China influencing B.C. politicians? Falun Gong case points that way

                  The City of Vancouver will again face Chinese dissident group Falun Gong in court over a controversial protest bylaw, in a case that raises questions about China’s influence in B.C. municipal politics, according to some espionage experts.

                  The City of Vancouver will again face Chinese dissident group Falun Gong in court over a controversial protest bylaw, in a case that raises questions about China’s influence in B.C. municipal politics, according to some espionage experts.

                  On Monday, Falun Gong asked a B.C. Supreme Court judge to declare Vancouver’s bylaw unconstitutional for the second time in four years. The spiritual group wants to renew the round-the-clock vigil it started in 2001 in front of the grandiose Chinese Consulate on Granville Street, just south of 16th Avenue. The embarrassing optics of the practitioners’ silent protest — mostly elderly women meditating in front of banners proclaiming brutal persecution and bloody torture in China — irked Beijing and reportedly became an irritant in relations with Vancouver and Victoria.

                  China has banned Falun Gong and calls it one of the “five poisons” that endanger the state. The regime’s foreign service targets Falun Gong in overt and covert operations, according to intelligence and court documents obtained by The Province.

                  But the Granville Street case is not just about a foreign spiritual group’s freedom to protest under the laws that protect Canadian citizens. On one level, this case seems to highlight China’s growing economic might and potential impacts on Canadian governments. And if you believe experts like Michel Juneau-Katsuya, former Asia-Pacific bureau chief for Canadian Security Intelligence Service, this could be about China trying to infiltrate B.C. politics, while CSIS spies monitor local politicians for any signs of “foreign interference.”

                  Furthermore, it’s possible, several intelligence experts including Juneau-Katsuya said, that the Granville Street case is the type of scenario that Canada’s former top spy, Richard Fadden, infamously referred to in 2010. Juneau-Katsuya told The Province it is a certainty that Fadden was monitoring Vancouver politicians in connection to the Falun Gong protest and the spy agency will continue to watch local councillors under new director Michel Coulombe.

                  A HISTORY OF PROTESTS

                  Former NPA mayor Sam Sullivan ordered Falun Gong to dismantle their protest hut on Granville in 2006, and the case went to court. Falun Gong argued that China had pressured Vancouver to enforce its bylaw in efforts to suppress the protest. A B.C. Supreme Court judge in 2009 supported the city. But in 2010 Vancouver Island lawyer Clive Ansley — who practised for years in China and speaks Mandarin — won an appeal for Falun Gong. The judge ordered the city to rewrite its bylaw on constitutional grounds, giving council six months to draft rules that would allow for public protest huts on city streets. The judge said it was clear China used “its considerable resources” to oppose Falun Gong, but the group’s lawyers did not prove the city was politically or economically pressured to enforce its bylaw by China.

                  Questions about China’s influence didn’t end there, though. City staff admitted in a 2011 council meeting that the Chinese consulate was consulted as a “stakeholder” in the new bylaw’s drafting, in confidential discussions. Ansley recalls how he reacted to that stunning revelation.

                  “I told Mayor Robertson this is about the degree of freedom Canadian citizens are to be allowed protesting in the streets, and the Chinese government is not a stakeholder in that,” Ansely said. “I said it is absolutely indefensible and disgraceful.”

                  Fast forward to September 2014. Vancouver’s rewritten protest bylaw — with limits on the times and durations the Falun Gong protest hut can stand in front of the Chinese Consulate — is “no better than the old one,” according to Ansley.

                  “Vancouver city council has tried to do an end run and evade the clear intent of the Court of Appeal,” Ansley said in an interview. “They have just imposed totally arbitrary conditions that they can’t defend.”

                  “We think they deliberately disallowed our continued vigil,” said Vancouver Falun Gong practitioner Sue Zhang, 68. “We do think that the city is being either pressured by the Chinese consulate, or is trying to please the Chinese regime.”

                  Ansley said that for health reasons he is not arguing the current case, and Vancouver lawyer Cameron Ward represented Falun Gong in court on Monday. Ward said he will not comment for this story. The city also would not comment on the court case.

                  Although Ansley says he strongly believes in Falun Gong’s evidence of Chinese influence on Vancouver council, it is not clear if Ward will renew those arguments, or present new evidence. In the first court battle with Vancouver, Falun Gong’s legal team presented a timeline of former mayor Sam Sullivan’s meeting with Chinese consulate staff and trips to China, and alleged that his position on the Falun Gong protest was related to his visits with regime officials. Ansley’s co-counsel Joseph Arvay spoke of the relationship between Sullivan — who is reportedly a fluent Mandarin speaker — and the former Chinese Consular General Yang Qiang. In cross-examination, Sullivan reportedly said he and his parents were guests for a private dinner at Yang’s residence in which the protest was discussed. Sullivan has maintained he was not politically influenced.


                  But an affidavit from Chen Yonglin — a diplomat who in 2005 defected from the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, Australia — said it would be impossible that any Vancouver mayor would not be pressured by China in this case.

                  Chinese embassies around the world were aware of Falun Gong’s seven-year vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate on Granville, and it was a “major embarrassment to the Chinese government,” Chen’s 2008 sworn statement says. Chen’s affidavit includes documents outlining overt and covert operations that he was involved in against Falun Gong in Sydney. Such actions are common around the world, wherever the Chinese government confronts Falun Gong and the “five poisons” Chen stated. He added that in performing his duties he learned the most effective way “to develop influence over Australian political leaders is to provide them with all-expenses-paid travel to China, and with lavish entertainment while they are there. This method is common to all Chinese foreign missions in the west.”

                  The Sydney consulate regularly promoted the private business ties of Australian leaders, and members of local councils, and regularly hosted dinners for them, “in the name of bilateral cultural exchange,” Chen’s 2008 sworn statement says.

                  “It would be absolutely impossible that in (the Granville Falun Gong protest case) the mayor of the city in which the Consulate General and the vigil are located would receive no pressure from the Consulate-General,” Chen concluded.

                  Sam Sullivan, now an MLA in the B.C. Liberal government, and Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson would not be interviewed for this story and chose not to answer a specific set of questions emailed to each by The Province, including questions about Fadden’s controversial claims about municipal politicians in B.C. Questions also covered the potential for Chinese influence in B.C. politics, whether Sullivan and Robertson had been offered or accepted paid trips on their travels in China, and whether CSIS is known to have monitored or questioned Vancouver mayors in connection to the Falun Gong protest case.

                  In an interview with The Province, Juneau-Katsuya said that the Vancouver Falun Gong case is likely the type of scenario Fadden was alluding to in 2010, when he outraged B.C. politicians by publicly singling the province out.

                  According to CSIS documents obtained by The Province in a freedom of information request, Fadden accused China of foreign interference and spying in connection with B.C. in a speech to the Royal Canadian Military Institute in March 2010. Fadden said Chinese authorities were organizing demonstrations against the “five poisons” including Falun Gong, and apparently recruiting agents through the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-funded school located on campuses across Canada, including BCIT. Confucius Institutes continue to be investigated by CSIS, but directors have always denied they are run as spy outlets through Chinese consulates. In his speech — directly after claiming a small number of Confucius Institute students have been “kept on the books” and Chinese authorities “kept up contacts” with some students after they left the BCIT Confucius Institute — Fadden added “there are several municipal politicians in B.C. and at least two provinces, there are ministers of the Crown, whom we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government. They have no idea. It’s just a long-standing relationship.”

                  In a June 2010 CBC interview Fadden clarified his comments about Canadian politicians under suspicion, saying: “We can monitor anyone. In the case of these individuals ... they haven’t really hidden their association, but what surprised us is that it’s been so extensive over the years, and we’re now seeing in a couple of cases indications that they are, in fact, shifting their public policies as a reflection of that involvement with that particular country.”

                  CHINESE ESPIONAGE

                  The mystery as to what politicians Fadden was referring has never been revealed. One former Canadian diplomat with knowledge of Chinese espionage told The Province, CSIS apparently ditched Fadden’s strategy of warning the public about foreign spies because the political heat was too great. A number of B.C. politicians including then premier Gordon Campbell bristled at Fadden’s unproven allegations.

                  In response to the backlash, in heavily redacted “Top Secret” documents obtained by The Province, Fadden explained his controversial claims to Canada’s former public safety minister, Vic Toews.

                  In documents Fadden says ‘foreign interference’ is an effort to influence the political process and public policy in another country, and to control and monitor diaspora communities abroad. In Canada ethnic communities are manipulated to gain information on dissidents and solicit community support, Fadden writes, which can be used to promote targeted politicians or electoral candidates.

                  “Politicians are targeted to solicit support for policies and positions that favour the interests of the foreign state … interference and influence involving politicians and public servants are, in some cases, conducted subtly and involve a long period of cultivation,” Fadden writes, adding that targets can become subject to threats, coercion and blackmail.

                  The documents are redacted to conceal who Fadden is pointing the finger at.

                  In an Aug. 3 2010 report to Toews about “persons truly under suspicion” all information is blacked out, except Fadden’s conclusion that “we believe that provincial authorities should be advised.”

                  CSIS and the public safety ministry would not answer questions for this story.

                  In an interview, Clive Ansley said he was surprised at the reaction to Fadden’s comments, and he believes that China’s ability to gain “soft power” and influence with foreign politicians and businessmen is massive, effective, and extremely subtle. In fact the communist regime is so good at charming targets, from Ansley’s experience doing business in China, that nothing illegal needs to occur for the state to achieve its goals.

                  Ansley says he doesn’t know what politicians Fadden was referring to.

                  “My overwhelming feeling was that Fadden was talking about agents of influence, and not saying these people were spies for the Chinese government or even consciously acting as agents,” Ansley said. “In the Beijing government today they try to recruit, what used to be called in the Soviet Union, ‘useful idiots.’ You don’t have to reward them with anything but a lot of flattery, but they adopt a very favourable attitude toward you.”


                  Juneau-Katsuya said that if CSIS is watching Vancouver councillors, they are definitely not the only municipal politicians under the spy agency’s gaze. He said CSIS found evidence that the Chinese Consulate in Toronto was directly interfering in elections, by sending Chinese students into the homes of Chinese-language-only households and telling residents which candidate the Consulate wanted voters to choose.

                  “There are a lot of members of council in Toronto, for example, who were on CSIS’s watchlist,” Juneau-Katsuya said. “Some have been able to move up to the provincial and federal level, and remain a great source of concern.” Canadians should be uncomfortable about CSIS monitoring the country’s politicians, but it is seen in the world of spies as a necessary evil according to Juneau-Katsuya.

                  “We are watchers. We try to get evidence but we will never bring a politician into court unless there is a flagrant, outrageous fraud,” he said. “The people that can influence policy, counter to the interests of Canadians and the Canadian government, need to be kept under close watch.”

                  It is important to understand that diplomatic pressure is one thing — such as the case of the former Chinese Consular General Yang Qiang visiting Port Alberni in 2008 to explore economic and trade opportunities and then following up with letters urging councillors to cancel its previous support of a Falun Gong human rights month — but under Canadian law CSIS will only investigate clandestine influence.

                  While not commenting on the Vancouver Falun Gong case or Chinese espionage, prominent human rights lawyer David Matas said that the bottomless pools of money coming from China can make people forget their morals, and that China has leaned on more than one council in Canada, over Falun Gong.

                  The Vancouver Chinese Consulate was called for comment on this story, but did not respond.

                  The letter from Yang told Port Alberni councillors: “If passed, (the pro-Falun Gong) motion will have a very negative effect on our future beneficial exchanges and co-operation.”

                  Pat Deacon, Port Alberni’s director of economic development, told The Province three local businesses have been bought by Chinese immigrant investors and several deals have been inked since 2008. Deacon says Port Alberni officials now conduct regular visits to the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver, and the city’s new mayor has visited China. Deacon says he believes business pitches made through a provincial program that accelerates immigration for Chinese investors are the most likely reason for Port Alberni’s new level of co-operation with China.

                  “I don’t think there has been any relationship,” between the new deals and Yang’s trade visit and anti-Falun Gong letter to council in 2008, Deacon said.


                  • #10
                    Well, Canada did have an independent China policy. Justine Trudeau's father Pierre Elliot Trudeau recognized China in 1970. A full 8 years ahead of the US. Back then, we counted China as our defacto ally against Moscow. So, we were useful in not only further communications between East and West but also as a conduit to military understandings, ie in case of the Soviets marching west, the Chinese will march north.