Several municipal politicians in BC are under surveillance: CSIS Director

Post by Mike Klassen in

29 comments


Which BC municipal politicians are "foreign influenced"? (video)

CBC National news in an ongoing series of interviews with CSIS Director Richard Fadden led tonight's broadcast with a shocking accusation from Fadden. So-called "agents of influence" for foreign governments are elected officials in at least two Provincial cabinets, and "several" municipal elected officials in British Columbia are also under investigation.

In an interview with Brian Stewart, Fadden states that there are "political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries". He has not revealed which provinces have people in cabinet with foreign ties, but he explicitly identified BC as the place where "several members of municipal governments" have become so-called "secret supporters" or agents of influence.

Fadden explains how this usually comes about:

A number of countries take the view that if they can develop influence with people relatively early in their careers, they'll follow them through. Before you know it a country is providing them with money, there's some kind of covert guidance.

Stewart reports that there are shockwaves already reverberating through several circles at the admission, which comes on the eve of the G8/G20 meetings in Ontario. Stewart says, "it is possible that CSIS feels compelled by a sense of profound national danger." It's felt that this is a strong message from CSIS to let these political figures know that they're being scrutinized.

In his discussion on-air with Peter Mansbridge – who called the story "stunning" – Stewart repeated that the "unprecedented" revelation may come from CSIS being "profoundly worried" about the amount of influence coming into Canada from foreign sources.

The fact that the head of Canada's national security service is pointing to BC is an astonishing allegation. Not surprisingly there is some alarm from critics such as Wesley Wark, a history professor from the University of Toronto quoted by Canwest News tonight. “What on Earth is the CSIS director doing making this public? Why is he coming forward with this information?”, asked Wark.

Also predictably there is alarm coming from other political critics. "Spartikus", the left wing blog commenter left this note tonight on the Vancouver Sun website:

This is grossly irresponsible on the part of Fadden - either you have the evidence to charge them with espionage, or you don't. If the latter, it's slander - and you undermine citizens faith in the political system...for what, really? What's the purpose? Deflection?

CityCaucus.com has written extensively about US influence in local and provincial politics within BC. We've maintained the view that openness and full disclosure are the tools to build trust with voters.

To date our efforts to get Vision Vancouver to be more transparent about their 2008 debt, campaign financing and current sources of money to bankroll their current operations have been met by silence. Perhaps a greater sense of urgency on opening their party's books will follow this heightened awareness of political influence in our province.

Needless to say Fadden's comments will receive a lot of attention out on Canada's left coast. Who indeed is the CSIS Director speaking about? Which countries are involved in this influence? Stewart's report suggests that not only are "the usual suspects" considered (i.e. Russia, China, India), but traditional allies such as the UK and USA are also seeking advantages over those they compete with for markets.

Fadden's message is that we can no longer take the issue of our national security for granted. He is in effect asking the public to pay closer attention. Stewart's voice over in the extended documentary spells out some of the most concerning issues:

Among the most sensitive files at CSIS...concern foreign interference in Canadian politics. A half-dozen countries are thought to be trying to turn some of our politicians into agents of influence. With success at municipal levels in British Columbia, and even in two provinces at the cabinet level.

There will be a lot of discussion about this among media, the public and within governments. Fadden will eventually have to reveal more information, or spell out his objectives. I rarely agree with Spartikus on issues, but I share his concerns about Fadden's general comment that there is somebody "out there" we must scrutinize more closely. It can lead to irrational fear and suspicion of our elected officials, making it even more difficult to govern effectively.

Let's hope Fadden clarifies himself in the weeks to come.

- post by Mike

29 Comments

This is a shocking allegation against several unknown municipal politicians who are apparently cozying up to foreign nationals. The public should be provided with as much information as possible in order that we can know if anyone from outside the country is in fact influencing municipal elections. It's always struck me as odd that foreigners would have any interest in our municipal campaigns at all.

I watched the segment and my jaw dropped when the CSIS director pointed to BC and said some municipal politicians were under the direct influence of foreign nationals - and that they were under active surveillance. Perhaps this is the time to use the Vancouver Sun's campaign donor database to see who really was donating to whom?

The CSIS Director makes it seem like some prominent municipal politician is in bed with a foreigner. He makes a real effort to explain that this politician has been nurtured and taken care of for a while by his foreign friends...perhaps well before his/her political career. Hmmm...it's time for the mainstream media and blogs to do some digging. Very intriguing.

Dear me. Not enough that they're in the pockets of unions or industries, now they're spying for Beijing.

You have to believe me, I paid for that trip to Havana myself. Sure, I've said some good things about Communist dicatorships but that doesn't mean I'm sending them encrypted reports concealed in my facebook status updates.

The modern world presents very difficult security challenges to national governments, but CSIS has failed to meet so many of them. Why believe their claims now?

I don't believe the CSIS director said which country was influencing whom. So before we point fingers at Beijing and Chinese-Canadian politicians, let's listen carefully to what Fadden said...and didn't say. The CBC story makes it clear that both the "usual suspects" along with friendlier governments like the USA and UK undertake covert activities.

We also don't know if it is the same government influencing all of the provincial and civic politicians being referenced in this emerging story. There is a good likelihood it is multiple governments. Clearly we need more information before we can definitively determine which city politician he is talking about.

i think this may push forward the cause of openess in campaign donations.

It is well known practice of the Taiwanese government to subsidize or pay for the trips of Metro Vancouver politicians heading to their country. Just how many local politicians have taken them up on the offer? Is it a matter of public record as to who funds these politician's trips abroad? Will anyone be prepared to ask our current Vancouver politicians if they've ever travelled overseas on someone else's dime? Have they ever been offered such a goodie? Lots of good questions in light of CSIS concerns.


Wow, the G-20 protests are on and CSIS threw the first bomb.
There has been so much political interference in our affairs. Something to keep in mind while guarding that fence in Toronto. Who is guarding who? CSIS has some pretty major concerns confirming how foreign governments are influencing our officials. Keep your eyes peeled for anyone making contracts on behalf of Canada.

In a recent CBC interview the head of CSIS gave a heads up. "We're in fact a bit worried in a couple of provinces that we have an indication that there's some political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries," Richard Fadden said.

I must say I feel that Mr. Fadden has good reason to sound the alarm and well thought timing. Political figures are meeting political figures at the G-20 and G-8 Summit in Toronto. The Queen is coming. Canada Day is around the corner. We are jailing intellectuals and allowing thugs to grow rich and influential. The influence of marijuana prohibition is creating a tidal wave of illegal cash. We have a stranger in The House and we might not be too sure who our friends are. I'm sure Mr. Fadden will be critiqued for speaking out but Mr. Fadden, the head of CSIS, has made the right choice because it is Canadians who must back Canada and not moles from questionable backgrounds. Call Mr. Fadden Brave and Bold. Another reason to have an unelected Senate.

"We" are a bit worried about ... / The Canadian Identity, shaped by off shore interests? " now that is a trading partners arrangement of merit. " We stand on guard for thee ", takes on a whole new meaning. The country i serve, has forsaken my merit by lies and subterfuge.

I've been moved to write. It seems CSIS has not contented itself with bungling the Air India case.

China, and "certain Middle Eastern countries" are mentioned in subsequent stories. I would speculate the latter would be Israel and Iran - who have a stake, however minor in the grand scheme of things, in influencing Canadian public opinion.

What Robert Fadden has done is grossly irresponsible, for two reasons.

One, as has been mentioned, names are not named, crimes are not mentioned. Indeed I can't discern if there is an actual crime and if there was one being committed Fadden has just ruined his chances of getting a conviction. Instead what he's done is cast a shadow on all Chinese-Canadian politicians (amongst others). If you can stomach the comment boards of the CBC, Vancouver Sun and Globe, you will note the racists are out in full force. In our Vancouver, George Chow, Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie may be one of the politicians whom Fadden if referring to. Or maybe, possibly, he means all of them. But here's the thing: It might be none of them. Yet they are now "suspect" in everything they do. Fadden doesn't say secrets are being passed, he simply mentions "influence". In other countries this is called "lobbying". Now that's an important political issue, but it's not one the security services should be involved with.

Two, there's the spymaster's perspective. What would George Smiley do? Go nowhere near a TV camera for one. No, good old fictional George would turn "agents" into "double-agents". And yes, from the Chinese or Israeli perspective the influencing of municipal politicians in Canada would be very low on their list of priorities, something might be gleaned from that for their more serious operations in this country. There's a reason why Canadian spies are alway portrayed as the hapless naive ones in cinema. We are so bush league.

If you want to know what Fadden's motivations might be, the editorial cartoon in the Sun might offer some clues.

I'm heartened that Mike Klassen and daniel (Fountaine?) share a few of my concerns.

Spartikus's comment about it amounting to slander, and your half-assed "sharing" his concern is just ridiculous.

Go talk to a lawyer about "slander".

Did they name names?

No.

Can any case for damages be made?

No.

Oh wait, HIS comments are going to undermine belief in the political process? Really now!

I would love to see any lawyer and/or statistician try and calculate any "confidence" level drop in politicians from one statement, versus what people already think of politicians. It would get laughed right out of court.

I'm not sure how this even gets close to "slander". Just more blather from the socialists worrying that they may have been caught with their pants down.

If the director of CSIS is using the media as a ploy in any investigation, great....why shouldn't he?

Heaven forbid if any political party, union, or hack like Spartikus would feed the media and the public misinformation to further their cause du jour.

Oh, wait.....you mean that happens every day....

I get it, its not okay when CSIS does it, where it may actually help an investigation that may protect Canadians....

But it is okay when Vision and their fluffers-in-chief Frances Bula and Alan Garr use their media jobs to spread Vision propaganda to the masses.

Frankly I say its long overdue if this administration is the one being investigated.

The public needs to know now if any Vision Vancouver politicians are under investigation by CSIS. Many of them clearly have links to American and other interests. Let's clear the air, or lay out the accusations out in a public forum.

According to the Vancouver Sun (just posted), Gregor has gone into hiding (yet again) and will not speak to the media. Instead, his chief of staff is lashing out saying that any connections Robertson has to his American pals is purely innocent. Why is Robertson not speaking out himself? Why are so many Americans interested in supporting Vision Vancouver and his campaign??? Purely altruistic?? The public deserves the right to know - NOW.

From CTV.ca

****

"What I'm struck by is what little information there is," Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs said. "When statements like this are made, it's important to have examples. As it is, every politician now, I suppose, becomes under some sort of suspicion."

Meggs says he remains unaware of any investigation of Vancouver councillors or staff.

Fadden declined to name any of the politicans being investigated, but said they have not hidden their associations with foreign governments. He said there are indications they have shifted their public policies because of their relationships.

Meggs said he was at a loss to guess what kind of influence a foreign power might hope to assert by infiltrating local politics.

"I don't want to minimize the power of municipal politicians, I'm just not sure what they could do to assist a foreign government. Maybe I'm being naïve," he said.

I was speaking in general terms when I left that comment at the Sun (and in a bit of a snit), but yes...you are absolutely correct, there is no legal case for slander v. Fadden.

As for the rest, I've said what I've had to say in the comment below.

Under every stone lurks a politician.

~ Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae, 410 B.C.

Doesn't matter if there was any truth behind these comments, or details, or anything else. The comments by the CSIS director have done exactly what they were intended to do. Anyone talking about G20 security costs now?

I see no less than Gordon Campbell is using the same sort of language I am:

"To cast aspersions and doubt on people in public office — we don't know which cabinet ministers and which provinces he's talking about — but to say that kind of thing at a public function and then release it to the media without talking to people directly involved is to me … I'm frankly incredulous by it," he said.

Notice how there is consensus across the political spectrum. Fadden, who [surprise!] is attempting to walk it all back, was out of line.

He did, however, succeed in pushing his agency's role in the Air India case off the frontpage. If only for a day.

Why is Gordon Campbell on the defensive. I don't see anywhere that CSIS mentioned his name.

The fellow doth protest too much, methinks.

sparticus,

Why should it alarm you that aspersions have been cast against politicians in this matter?

They seem to be perfectly capabable of being corrupted at the local level. Or being bought and paid for by next door neighbours. This is just a bigger stage.

I will tell you that the likes of Eastern European oligarchs and their friends have tried to buy their way into this country through legal firms, accountancy firms, banks, etc. by presenting themselves as legitimate business interests that need services. Once in, they can be a little hard to displace. That pols are approached should not be a surprise.

BTW, I forget the term in Russina, but in the english translation, Canada and its establshment are sneeringly referred to as "the vulnerable elite". Kind of sends a little chill up your spine, doesn't it? No amount of yoga or crystals or sincere best wishes and fervent good deeds dissuades those who think like that.

Let's take off our indignant, incredulous, naive rose-coloured glasses and recognize that we might have a big problem in this country with bribery, corruption and influence peddling.

Let's be honest with ourselves. This is a country in which cronyism is a way of life. This is a country which sells its citizenship. It's no great jump to what Mr Fadden describes, and the faux outrage from politicians convinces me that they know he's right.

CSIS Director Richard Fadden sees hints that "...foreign governments are influencing Canadian politicians".
Influencing? You mean joined at the hip? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mulroney_reagan.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chretien_and_Bush_shaking_hands_Sept_9_2002.jpg

I beleive Fadden and not Gordon Campbell who is posturing.

Hhmmm, CSIS wouldn't be talking about that media black-out meeting Gordon Campbell went to over in Spain? The Bilderberg Club? Oh wait didn't Stephen Harper attend a meeting when he was Opposition leader, along with Tony Blair, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton before coming leaders of their countries?? No, that's crazy.

http://www.vancouversun.com/fighter+Michael+Kirkham+dies+after+debut+match/3212952/reveals+major+Russian+ring+with+Canadian+connection/3212501/story.html

I know this post is now too old, but fresh from today's headlines...

I hate to say "I told you so....".

Well, not really ;-)

Hearing about the CSIS comments, my immediate thought was, Campbell and China. That the Canadian Chinese citizens would be involved, never even crossed my mind. The Chinese People, are a part of Canada, the same as everyone else is. They have contributed to Canada, decades upon decades. The CSIS fiasco, does not change my way of thinking of our, Canadian Chinese Citizens, one jot.

Campbell, however, is another story. He isn't trusted by 91% of the BC citizens. He did cost, our mill workers 30.000 jobs. He did send mills to China, and is busy selling our raw logs there as well. Campbell, is fighting to bring in, dirty oil tankers from China into our pristine coast. He has also sold us out to the USA. It is not the Canadian Chinese people, that are not trusted, it is Campbell, Hansen and the BC Liberals, who have been, nothing but a litany of lies and deceit. I for one, am dammed happy, if the CSIS is really watching Campbell, he does bear watching, as every snake in the grass, bears watching.

Campbell and Harper both have close ties with China. Harper is expanding the rail yard, in Ashcroft BC, to ease China's way into Canada. Campbell, has made, more than a few trips to China. He has given China, our mill jobs. Every time a mill closes in BC, another mill opens in China. They also get, BC's raw logs. The catalyst mill in Campbell River is shutting down, China also wants that industry. Campbell has worked diligently to devalue BC's jobs and wages. He loves the cheap labor in China. Child labor is, even more cheap. Me for one, is very happy, the CSIS is watching BC. Fadden only said, what the people already knew.

I thing many of us, have an aversion to Communism, perhaps more predominant in the older people. So, China is a Communist country, therefore, not trusted. There was a hullabaloo, when the Hong Kong Chinese, were desperate, to get to Canada. In Vancouver, we got the Triad gangs, which angered the BC citizens. It was felt, there were far too many Chinese, allowed in. I think, it's a good thing, Canadian Intelligence, is keeping an eye on BC. Fadden, only said, what the BC people already knew. Harper and Campbell, work together, to make easier access, for China, to move across Canada. Campbell, has cost our BC mill workers, 30.000 job losses. Every time, a mill closes in BC, another mill opens in China, and our raw logs, also go to China. So, there is considerable resentment, towards China. And, worse resentment towards Campbell, who is so despised, by the people of BC, we will never stop, trying to be rid of him. Campbell, is selling BC out to China. China, bought a large chunk, of the dirty tar sands. The Enbridge pipeline, is to cross, a multitude of rivers, streams and land. Pipelines leak. The Port of Kitimat, is where the dirty oil pipeline, is run to. China's, dirty oil tankers, are to take the dirty oil back to China. We don't want dirty oil tankers, in our pristine beautiful coastal waters.

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