Experts question timing of CSIS claim of foreign influence in Cdn politics

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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National security experts are questioning the timing of a stunning allegation by the head of Canada's spy agency that several Canadian politicians, including two provincial cabinet ministers, are under the control of foreign governments.
Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told CBC News Tuesday night that CSIS and the Privy Council Office are discussing the best way to inform those provinces.
Wesley Wark, a national security expert at the University of Toronto, was puzzled by CSIS rush to inform the public before contacting the jurisdictions involved.
"This puts CSIS dangerously out front in what could become a serious and damaging political issue," Wark told The Canadian Press in an email early Wednesday.
"It's not the business of CSIS to finger politicians it believes are threats to national security."
Fadden declined to name the two cabinet ministers or their provinces, but he said a number of public servants in British Columbia are also under suspicion.
He said those politicians have not hidden their association with the foreign governments. But there have recently been indications that they are shifting their public policies because of the involvement with that particular country.
A veteran B.C. political scientist called the allegations against several B.C politicians "very serious" and said Canadians should be concerned.
"Given the source, there's a certain amount of legitimacy attached to the suggestion," said University of Victoria Prof. Norman Ruff.
"It suggests that public policy in this province isn't necessarily being conducted in the best interests of British Columbians," said Ruff.
"There are influences on public policy in British Columbia both on the local and provincial level which aren't solely in the interests of British Columbians."
When Fadden was asked whether China was one of the foreign governments involved, he referred only to media reports on China's economic espionage in Canada saying they were not "entirely incorrect."
"I believe the country that you mentioned was mentioned in those stories"
Fadden's comments came just hours before China's president Hu Jintao was to arrive in Canada on a rare state visit in advance of the weekend's G20 summit.
His first visit to Canada since 2005 follows Harper's ice-breaker to China last December, highlighted by a public rebuke of the prime minister for not having paid proper heed to China's growing importance.
There was no immediate reaction from Beijing on the serious allegations levelled by the head of the secret service.
Meanwhile, officials in British Columbia were caught off guard by the allegations that some among them could have a foreign government's interests at heart.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell's office said the premier would not be available for comment.
Municipal officials in Victoria and Vancouver appeared surprised at Fadden's statement and declined to comment.

Organizations: Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CBC News, Privy Council Office University of Toronto Canadian Press

Geographic location: Canada, Cdn, British Columbia China British Columbians Beijing Vancouver

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  • Politically Incorrect
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    This is news??? Harper and Iggy both get their orders from Washington and Israel. Then again, we've become so incorporated into the American sphere of influence, I suppose the U.S. no longer qualifies as a ''foreign'' power.

  • Politically Incorrect
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    This is news??? Harper and Iggy both get their orders from Washington and Israel. Then again, we've become so incorporated into the American sphere of influence, I suppose the U.S. no longer qualifies as a ''foreign'' power.