China and India Coopted Lawmakers for Their Benefit — and Trudeau Let It Happen

by John Hayward

Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), an inter-party group of lawmakers tasked with investigating foreign influence over Canadian elections, issued a bombshell report on Monday that accused some members of Parliament of “wittingly assisting foreign state actors.”

The report said some MPs sought to influence their colleagues for the political benefit of India and China in particular. NSICOP said Chinese election interference was especially blatant, as the Chinese Communist Party bluntly believes Canadian politicians who accept its assistance during their election campaigns owe China a few favors once they get into office.

In the case of India, the NSICOP report found India-friendly MPs forwarded confidential information to Indian officials and sought to influence other parliamentarians on issues that were important to the Indian government.

NSICOP reviewed intelligence that suggested Canadian politicians have communicated with foreign missions during their election campaigns, accepted campaign funds from foreign powers “knowingly, or through willful blindness,” and taken direction from foreign governments over the conduct of parliamentary business.

Much of this foreign interference was allegedly conducted through proxies, who facilitated “person-to-person interaction” between foreign governments and Canadian politicians while providing a layer of deniability. However, foreign diplomats and intelligence officers also participated directly in efforts to influence Canadian politics.

One noteworthy example of such direct participation involved a former member of Parliament who maintained a personal “relationship” with a foreign intelligence officer. The report was heavily redacted to remove “injurious or privileged information,” including almost all details about this relationship and whether it included a romantic element or not.

“Foreign states also used mainstream and social media, and other digital means, to conduct interference activities,” the report noted.

Not all of these election interference campaigns targeted Canadian politicians. NSICOP found foreign powers also used agents in Canada and transnational tools of repression such as threatening family members back home to “monitor and repress respective ethnocultural communities in Canada.”


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