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

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

Toronto Chinese Consulate

By Sam Cooper Global News Published November 7, 2022 11 min read

Click to play video: 'China allegedly interfered in 2019 Canadian election'
WATCH: How China allegedly interfered in the 2019 Canadian election – Nov 7, 2022

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.Click to play video: 'Canada ‘creating new tools’ to protect institutions against China, others seeking to influence elections' 2:21 Canada ‘creating new tools’ to protect institutions against China, others seeking to influence elections

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. Advertisement

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.

CSIS can capture its findings through warrants that allow electronic interception of communications among Chinese consulate officials and Canadian politicians and staffers.

Sources close to this situation say they are revealing details from the 2022 briefs to give Canadians a clearer understanding of China’s attacks on Canada’s democratic system. Out of fear of retribution, they have asked their names be withheld.

In response to the briefing details, experts say the alleged interference points to weakness in Canada’s outdated espionage and counterintelligence laws, which sophisticated interference networks run by China, Russia and Iran are exploiting.

Still, the 2022 intelligence asserts that China conducts more foreign interference than any other nation, and interference threats to Canada increased in 2015 when Chinese president Xi Jinping elevated the CCP’s so-called United Front influence networks abroad.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) did not directly answer a series of questions from Global News, including whether or not Prime Minister Trudeau was briefed in 2022 on Canadian intelligence that alleged China had covertly funded a clandestine network of candidates in the 2019 election.

It also did not respond to a question on the need for tighter federal rules against foreign influence on Canadian politics.

“Protecting Canadians’ security is our top priority. Threats, harassment, or intimidation of Canadian citizens are unacceptable, and all allegations of interference are investigated thoroughly by our security agencies,” a statement from the PMO said. “As threats evolve, so must the methods used to address them. That is why the Prime Minister has given the Minister of Public Safety the mandate to improve collaboration between Canadian security agencies.”

Conservative Party leadership did not respond to Global News questions by deadline for this story.Click to play video: 'China responds to Trudeau, Global News investigation, says it has no interest in ‘Canada’s internal affairs’' 0:37 China responds to Trudeau, Global News investigation, says it has no interest in ‘Canada’s internal affairs’

“We simply don’t have a prosecutorial end game to deal with foreign interference,” said Dan Stanton, a former CSIS officer who studies Chinese interference, but isn’t privy to recent CSIS reporting. “The sophistication of the threat: it is not the guy with the fedora and black coat, like the old days with the KGB. The whole point of influence networks is that anyone can be used by a foreign state as a co-optee, or agent, or source.”

Stanton and other experts told Global News that CSIS benefits from modernized counter-terror laws that have enabled the service to mitigate terror planning and funding networks since 9/11, but Canada’s espionage laws are stuck in the Cold War era.

“So, until we make legislative changes on interference,” Stanton said, “it’s just CSIS telling our politicians, ‘Hey, be careful out there.’”

In April 2021, a private members bill in the House of Commons called for a foreign influence registry, but it did not become law.

Kenny Chiu, the B.C. Conservative MP who wrote the bill, was subsequently targeted by the CCP’s election interference network, sources said. Chiu says his law would have compelled anyone working for hostile regimes, such as Russia and Iran and China, to declare their interests, and this transparency would protect Canada’s democracy.

The Toronto Consulate and Chinese officials in Ottawa did not respond to questions from Global News about allegations in the 2022 briefs.

Money and influence

Interference on Canadian soil is orchestrated by the CCP’s powerful United Front Work Department, which mobilizes large sections of society abroad to fulfill Chinese Communist Party objectives, according to the 2022 briefs.

United Front operations can include politicians, media, business, student and community groups, and are aimed at consolidating support for CCP policy as well as targeting critics and the causes of ethnic groups seen as “poisons” by the CCP, such as Uyghurs and Tibetans.

Several federal candidates from Canada’s 2019 federal election met with China-based United Front Work Department officials, the intelligence alleges, but did not identify the politicians. Advertisement

While Xi’s United Front is not itself an espionage agency, intelligence briefs allege its networks in Canada facilitate interference operations by China’s foreign espionage service, the Ministry of State Security.

The briefs also reported that Xi’s United Front operates through Chinese consulates in Canada, from which officials direct funds into Canada’s political system, using CCP proxies.

The CSIS briefs also point to the 2014 imbroglio over Toronto District School Board’s partnership with the Confucius Institute, China’s controversial state-funded, culture-education program. Many parents, teachers and students opposed the involvement of these schools, which are guided by the United Front Work Department, according to the U.S. State Department.

According to the briefs, the Toronto Chinese Consulate allegedly transferred $1 million to unidentified proxy groups, which in turn organized protests to support the continued integration of the program into Toronto’s district school board system. That effort ultimately failed when the TDSB voted to sever its ties to the organization.

But China’s alleged United Front campaigns extend beyond financing to the co-opting of politicians and harassment of critics.

One of the more dramatic allegations from the briefs pertained to a pivotal February 2021 vote in the House of Commons, in which members would either support or reject a United Nations resolution declaring China’s treatment of the Uyghur people a genocide.

The intelligence also alleges that, in the aftermath of the House vote, Chinese intelligence agents conducted in-depth background research into MPs who voted in favour of the resolution, declaring China guilty of genocide.

The agents studied the ridings of specific, targeted MPs in order to learn what industries and companies were present and whether these companies had economic links to China.

The objective was to judge whether China could leverage the local economies of Canadian politicians seen as the CCP’s enemies, sources said.

In addition, it was alleged that before the September 2021 federal election, a small number of MPs reported they feared for their families and their reputations and believed they were being targeted in operations to hurt their election chances.

One of the MPs whom the CCP allegedly targeted, MP Kenny Chiu, said he believes Chinese agents succeeded in smearing him as a racist in WeChat and Mandarin-language media reports. As the member from Steveston-Richmond, Chiu had advocated for transparent elections in Hong Kong, voted in favour of declaring China’s actions in Xinjiang a genocide, and tabled his April 2021 bill calling for a foreign influence registry.

“The CCP didn’t have to send me a death threat, they just tried to kill my political career,” Chiu said in an interview.

“So ahead of the 2021 election, I was given a distancing treatment by Chinese-language media. And during the campaign people were shutting the door in my face. The messages I was getting were, ‘Kenny Chiu is a racist. Kenny is Anti-Asian.’”

Some pundits, however, argued that Chiu swung his riding for the Conservatives in 2019 and the riding simply reverted to the Liberals two years later.

Chinese intelligence in the field

The 2022 briefs alleged that one official in Toronto’s Chinese Consulate directed a 2019 federal election-campaign staffer to control and monitor their candidates’ meetings. These efforts included preventing meetings with representatives of Taiwan, a democratic country that Beijing claims is a renegade province.

This kind of interference extends to elected officials as well, according to the briefs, which referred to instances in which clandestine operatives were placed alongside elected officials in an attempt to control the policy choices of federal MPs.

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Harry Tseng, Taiwan’s deputy minister of foreign affairs and top diplomat in Ottawa. “This type of activity is directed from Beijing in many consulates abroad. I think China can be that coercive because they have a very comprehensive list of Canadian politicians.

And when they can find a connection to China, they can pull a string to influence the Canadians.”

The 2022 briefs also detailed Chinese intelligence efforts to infiltrate, surveil and “mess with” Chinese diaspora communities.

Fenella Sung, a Hong Kong Canadian community leader in Vancouver, said she has long believed that Chinese intelligence has infiltrated Canadian diaspora groups, by using business inducements and “subtle psychological warfare.”

She also believes that China’s United Front controls and funds an “interchangeable” network of candidates and nominations in some British Columbia and Ontario ridings.

Turnisa Matsedik-Qira, a Uyghur-Canadian activist, said many in her community believe Chinese agents monitored and harassed them. She provided photos from her December 2021 Facebook posting that showed one alleged incident. In the post, Matsedik-Qira says she was protesting outside the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver when a van pulled up, and two men jumped out. Advertisement

“One of them spit on me and said, “I wish all your people died,” she said.

“I’m scared and worried for my safety. I think he is connected to the Chinese Consulate, for sure. The Consulate has many people in Canada working for China.”

Coerced Repatriations

The 2022 briefs also shed light on the PRC’s so-called Fox Hunt, a high-profile international campaign in President Xi’s efforts to battle corruption and persuade economic fugitives to return to China.

National security experts argue the Fox Hunt is less about battling corruption and more about the CCP extending tentacles of repression into diaspora communities abroad and clamping down on rivals and dissidents.

The 2022 briefs alleged that one of China’s Fox Hunt targets in Canada had connections to the Politburo, the CCP’s elite inner circle of leaders.

Concern was raised in 2020 when a Chinese police agent worked with a Canadian police officer to repatriate an economic fugitive. In another coerced repatriation, Chinese police brought a Fox Hunt target’s brother and father into Canada and would not allow them to return to China unless the economic fugitive also agreed to return, the 2022 briefs alleged.

A new report from the Spanish human rights NGO SafeGuard Defenders bolsters these suspicions, identifying three alleged secret Chinese police stations in Toronto, among 50 similar worldwide, which are used to repatriate Fox Hunt targets. SafeGuard Defenders cited Chinese state records that connect the Toronto locations to police bureaus in Fujian province.

Dan Stanton, the former CSIS official, and David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China, said that Canada is more exposed than other Western democracies to China’s interference, and yet as the United States, UK and Australia strengthen their counter-interference laws and ramp up investigations into Xi’s United Front networks, Ottawa remains strangely inactive.

“The two most worrying aspects of this are direct interference in our electoral process, and we’re now seeing evidence of this,” Mulroney said, “and harassment of people in Canada of Uyghur and Tibetan origin who have vulnerable relatives back home.”

Global News also described some of the allegations sources say were briefed to Trudeau in 2022, including China’s election interference and targeting of MPs and diaspora communities in Canada, to Dennis Molinaro, a former senior CSIS analyst and expert on foreign interference, who now teaches legal studies at Ontario Tech University.

Molinaro said if the CSIS intelligence warnings sources say were provided to Trudeau are confirmed as accurate, they raise concerns about why the government hasn’t yet responded by tabling new legislation to counter the threats.

“The level of foreign interference activity you describe is serious and alarming,” Molinaro said. “And if confirmed, the level of interference you describe says to me that foreign adversaries understand the legislative loopholes that exist in Canada and are taking full advantage of them.”

Canada Naive in the Face of China’s Infiltration and Disinformation Campaigns: Expert

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The downtown Vancouver skyline is seen at sunset, as houses line a hillside in Burnaby, B.C., on April 17, 2021. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The downtown Vancouver skyline is seen at sunset, as houses line a hillside in Burnaby, B.C., on April 17, 2021. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) Canada

Canada Naive in the Face of China’s Infiltration and Disinformation Campaigns: Expert

By Andrew Chen June 8, 2022 Updated: June 9, 2022 biggersmallerPrint 0:007:33

Canada has been naive about communist China its continued espionage and foreign interference campaigns, and as politicians willfully turn a blind eye to the threat, the country is also losing credibility among its democratic allies, an expert said at a panel discussion on June 7.

Sam Cooper, also an award-winning investigative journalist, said he was told by Canadian intelligence officials that Beijing had its spies collect information about him after his book, published last summer, exposed how corrupt politicians in the communist regime have been using gangs and casinos in Canada to launder dirty money made through the illicit drug trade, among other international criminal activities.

“Beijing wanted to know how the public was reacting to my book and whether it could damage the Chinese Communist Party,” Cooper said during the panel discussion, held on the occasion of the launch of the second edition of his book.

The event was hosted by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and featured panelists including Conservative MP Adam Chambers and James Cohen, executive director of Transparency International Canada, a Toronto-based global anti-corruption non-government coalition.

Cooper said he was shocked to learn that he was targeted by the Chinese Communist Party’s espionage activities, but “wasn’t surprised” that the regime’s United Front Work Department found his book a threat.

The book, titled “Wilful Blindness: How a Network of Narcos, Tycoons, and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West,” draws links between senior CCP officials and underground money-laundering suspects in British Columbia and shows how their criminal proceedings fuelled an opioid crisis in Canada while driving up real estate costs. It also reveals that Chinese state-backed companies donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s family foundation.

“Every parliamentarian and regulator should have the book, should read it,” said Chambers, who previously worked as a senior adviser to former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

The book also received praise on Twitter from Tory MP Garnett Genuis, who has been vocal against the CCP’s human rights abuses and violations of international law.

Misinformation in Canada’s 2021 Federal Election

A top priority of the CCP’s foreign infiltration campaign is to eliminate dissenting voices against the authoritarian regime and its questionable conduct, particularly those in overseas Chinese communities.

Cooper said one of his sources, who managed to get into some of Vancouver’s Chinese elite circles that are involved with the United Front, warned him about a CCP agent’s scheme to run a donation campaign to fund a lawsuit against critics of the regime based on claims that they are racially discriminatory against Asian Canadians.

“My source told me they want to make it an influential Chinese group to lobby and pressure governments, politicians, reporters, institutions, and incite national sentiment among Chinese Canadians,” Cooper said. “They want to promote lawsuits against anyone who dares to criticize China and elect more puppets into Canadian governments.”

He said the warnings became a reality during Canada’s 2021 federal election, when the same social media groups that had attacked him in 2020 for his previous reports on the United Front’s misconduct began to “amplify disinformation operations” against Conservative candidate Kenny Chiu, who was the incumbent MP seeking re-election.

Chiu, known for his pro-Chinese democracy stance and an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, lost his seat in the B.C. riding of Steveston–Richmond East in the 2021 election. He told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that while he had been a target of misinformation before, what happened last year was “exceptional.”

Through his private member’s bill, Bill C-282, Chiu sought to increase political transparency by compelling those working on behalf of foreign entities to register as foreign agents. But he said that bill was “deliberately” misrepresented to mislead people in the Chinese community to believe it was against their interests.

“Chiu didn’t even name China in his bill,” Cooper said. “Yet he was smeared and labelled anti-Chinese.”

“Any defender of Canada is an enemy of Beijing. These forces succeeded in taking Chiu out.”

Cooper noted similar misinformation campaigns also targeted Alice Wong, Tory MP for Richmond Centre, Ontario. In total, the CCP interference network had targeted 12 ridings in the 2021 election, mostly in Vancouver and Toronto, he said.

Targeting Elites

Cooper said the CCP’s cash-for-access influence over Western political elites, or what is known as “elite capture,” as seen in Vancouver and Toronto is also carried out in other democratic societies.

He pointed to a report in early 2022 from the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency MI5, which showed how a Chinese agent, Christine Ching Kui Lee, established ties with a number of British parliamentarians on behalf of the CCP through political donations.

However, unlike the MI5, Canadian intelligence agencies cannot make public alerts about infiltration from foreign agents from China, Russia, and Iran, due to the country’s “strict privacy laws and the mysterious political shackles that Canadian intelligence operates under,” even when the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has incredible intelligence showing the CCP’s United Front has targeted Trudeau and politicians in all Canadian parties, Cooper said.

“This isn’t a failure of the agency’s task with gathering intelligence. They ultimately report to their political masters. And if those political masters don’t want to heed the blaring alarms, the agencies have little recourse—reports will be buried, … and ultimately the intelligence agencies will stop producing these reports altogether,” Cooper said, citing an intelligence source.

“Bureaucrats don’t want to end their careers by delivering unwanted medicine to uncooperative patients.”

He said that according to Chiu, in Greater Vancouver, with its “three-dimensional control” of political candidates, culture, and businesses, China has gained sway over even the traditional pillars of society.

“People that are supposed to speak the truth, China has brought them down to their knees,” Cooper said.

As for politicians in Ottawa, they have been “naive at best about the threat China poses,” and many parliamentarians are near-sighted, focusing on microscopic concerns, while still others who do see the big picture “enrich themselves through sweet insider deals with Beijing,” he said, citing Chiu and his intelligence sources.

“Canada is faltering as a middle power,” Cooper said. “The nation isn’t taken seriously in the Five Eyes anymore. Canada isn’t a leader in the growing battle between democracy and authoritarianism.”

Issac Teo contributed to this article.

Red Chinese Meddling Cost Straight Shooting Anti-Communist Tory MP His Seat

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Red Chinese Meddling Cost Straight Shooting Anti-Communist Tory MP His Seat

Defeated Conservative MP fears attacks by pro-Beijing forces swung votes against him

There was evidence that China’s focus turned during the election to the Conservatives, whose platform outlined a multi-pronged approach to confronting Beijing Author of the article: Tom Blackwell Publishing date: Sep 22, 2021  

Due to a private members bill critical of China that Conservative Kenny Chiu introduced last April, he was hounded by supporters of the Chinese Communist Party during the federal election.
Due to a private members bill critical of China that Conservative Kenny Chiu introduced last April, he was hounded by supporters of the Chinese Communist Party during the federal election. Photo by Jason Payne/Postmedia/File

When Kenny Chiu introduced a private member’s bill that would set up a registry for agents of foreign governments, he may well have painted a target on his back.

The bill was inspired largely by China’s suspected interference in Canada and the B.C. Conservative says he was attacked over it in Chinese-language media throughout the election. https://www.youtube.com/embed

Some of the bashing bled into mainstream social media, with one poster on Twitter this week saying “I’ve never seen a more self-hating Chinese person in my life.”

Much of the criticism, Chiu says, misrepresented what that legislation really stated, but it had its effect.

Constituents in his Steveston-Richmond East riding who had previously voted for Chiu suddenly gave him the cold shoulder.

“When I go door knocking … there have been supporters of mine who just shut the door in my face,” said the politician. “There is so much hatred that I sense.”

And then on Monday, Chiu lost to Liberal Parm Bains by almost 3,000 votes, just two years after he was first elected, even as the Liberals more or less duplicated their 2019 performance.

His defeat — and that of other Conservative MPs in ridings dominated by Chinese Canadians, – has raised the question of whether proxies for the People’s Republic government managed to influence the election – just as security agencies and other watchdogs have warned could happen.

Chiu stresses that his issue is with China’s regime, but said online critics implied that meant he was opposed to the country itself and even the race, despite his own Chinese heritage.

He said Chinese-Canadians — even if they ended up disliking him – are victims themselves of such disinformation.

Charles Burton, a former diplomat in Beijing who’s fluent in Mandarin, said he tried to help Chiu by seeking out and warning him about disinformation on WeChat, the popular Chinese social media site, and elsewhere online.

But there seemed little they could do about it.

“It spread like a cancer over his campaign,” said Burton, a fellow with the Macdonald Laurier Institute and prominent critic of Beijing. “He just saw his campaign disintegrating over the last couple of weeks.”

Burton said Canadian authorities should investigate the online campaigns to determine if the Chinese government itself was behind the attacks.

He is not the first to raise the issue. David Vigneault, head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said in a speech in February that attempts by foreign states to influence Canadian politics and politicians were among the agency’s “most paramount concerns.”

Bains could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and there is no suggestion he had anything to do with the online sniping Chiu faced.

In fact, the Liberals themselves have been the target of harsh attacks from the Chinese government and state-run media in the ongoing feud over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

It spread like a cancer over his campaign

But there was evidence that China’s focus turned during the election to the Conservatives, whose platform outlined a multi-pronged approach to confronting Beijing. That included barring Huawei from 5G networks, imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions on Chinese rights violators and advising universities against partnering with state-owned companies.

The Liberal platform made a brief mention of measures to combat “illegal and unacceptable behaviour by authoritarian states,” singling out China, Iran and Russia.

In what appeared to be a comment on the Conservative blueprint, Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu told the Hill Times newspaper in August that China opposes politicians who “hype” or “smear” the country. Then barely a week before election day, the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times ran a story blasting the Tories’ policies, predicting that if the party were elected China would launch a “strong counterstrike” against Canada.

Michael Chan, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister who has spoken in defence of Beijing, wrote in a recent Chinese-language column that implementing the Conservative policies could trigger hatred and discrimination against Chinese people.

It’s impossible at this point to determine what factors caused results in individual ridings, but Chiu was not the only Conservative incumbent to be defeated in seats with large Chinese-Canadian populations, people exposed to such ethnic-Chinese media.

Though not all the votes had been counted Tuesday, Alice Wong appeared headed for defeat in Richmond Centre, next to Chiu’s riding, despite having held the seat through four previous elections.

Bob Saroya lost the Toronto-area riding of Markham-Unionville — where almost two thirds of residents are ethnic Chinese — to Liberal Paul Chiang after taking the previous two elections.

They have chat rooms and chat groups dedicated to unseating Kenny Chiu

Chiu, a Hong Kong native, says he has never been shy about his dislike of the Communist government in Beijing. But last April he introduced a private member’s bill that would require any agents of a foreign government to register with Ottawa and report on their activities. It was modelled after similar legislation in Australia and a law that has been in force in the United States for several decades.

Local Chinese-language media ignored the bill when it was introduced but as the election campaign turned into a dead heat between the Liberals and Conservatives, “attacks rained down on me,” the former MP said.

An article posted anonymously on WeChat, and that later showed up on various other online platforms, suggested it was designed to “suppress” the Chinese community and that anyone connected to China would have to register.

A similar story on a Chinese-language site called Today Commercial News said it would curb the freedom of speech of the Chinese community and have a “profound impact” on Chinese Canadians.

In fact, the legislation would require registration only for those acting on behalf of foreign governments or political groups who lobby a senior civil servant or an elected politician. It has actually been criticized for being too narrowly focused.

Other WeChat posts suggested erroneously the Conservatives had proposed to ban the widely used social media site itself.

“It’s very much organized,” said Chiu. “They have chat rooms and chat groups dedicated to unseating Kenny Chiu.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Chinese Benevolent Association, a group that has repeatedly run advertisements backing up Beijing on contentious issues like Hong Kong’s National Security Law, hosted a free lunch on behalf of the Liberal candidate in Vancouver East riding.

New Democrat Jenny Kwan still managed to win the seat handily, however.

• Email: tblackwell@postmedia.com | Twitter: tomblackwellNP

Trudeau gov’t put more effort into COVID jails than tracking illegal immigration

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  • Trudeau gov’t put more effort into COVID jails than tracking illegal immigration
  • By Sheila Gunn Reid
  • |
  • June 11, 2021

While Justin Trudeau was imprisoning Canadian citizens in COVID jails as part of his airport incarceration quarantine program, over 200,000 people were on the Canada Border Security Agency’s removal inventory.

A Liberal government response to an order paper question asked by Conservative MP for Steveston-Richmond East Kenny Chiu required the CBSA to produce the statistics on the number of people on the list since 2020.

According to the return tabled this week in the House of Commons, 205,127 people remain on CBSA’s “Removal Inventory” including 31,093 in the “Wanted” category.

A special monitoring inventory that includes “but is not limited to cases where litigation is in process, pre-removal risk assessments are pending, temporary suspension of removals are imposed, or foreign nationals serving a term of imprisonment” totalled 15,807 individuals.

Fewer than 13,000 removals were completed in the 2020 calendar year.

Page four of the return indicates CBSA stopped all removals due to COVID between March and November 2020, and the agency is still hampered by the pandemic:

Although the CBSA has returned to a pre-pandemic effort to remove people from Canada. It must be noted that there remains significant challenges to remove people during the pandemic. This includes obtaining travel documents from foreign missions that are closed or under significant restrictions that impact travel document production, a significantly reduced number of flights leaving Canada, the need for COIVD testing pre-departure and quarantines on arrival in the person’s home country, and ongoing provincial restrictions on staff occupancy that varies across the country.

Rebel News is challenging the illegal COVID jail system which detains innocent Canadian citizens in a hotel for up to 72 hours upon their return to Canada. To fund our lawsuit against the Trudeau government and to sign the petition, please visit