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China is Recruiting Spies Under Trudeau’s Nose

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A confidential warning from the CSIS exposed China’s brazen recruitment of Canadians for espionage programs, all under Trudeau’s nose.

Ottawa is currently facing an alarming national security threat as Beijing aggressively targets Canadian government employees, pressuring them to steal sensitive information.  

This isn’t the first time that China has interfered in Canada’s sovereign affairs. Whether it’s federal elections or Chinese police stations, China has crept further and further into Canada while Trudeau sat back watching. 

This latest attempt to undermine Canada’s sovereignty has caused some to wonder whether Beijing has already infiltrated the highest levels of power. Will Trudeau finally counter China’s encroachment into Canadian affairs, or is this audacious espionage campaign just a sign of what’s to come? 

The CSIS is sounding the alarm about a Chinese operation to recruit Canadian government officials and academics.

In a warning sent to federal employees this month, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alerted employees to a mass email campaign trying to entice workers into joining an overseas talent program.

The alert states, “The [People’s Republic of China] is likely using this recruitment drive to acquire Canadian knowledge and expertise,” and “These kinds of talent recruitment and technology transfer initiatives can result in the misuse of Canadian government resources and the loss of proprietary and sensitive information.”

Thankfully, the CSIS caught this deceptive email campaign in time. Otherwise, some employees may have been enticed by the email’s subject line inviting overseas talents to apply for the Global Excellent Scientists Fund in China. 

The email even offers salaries ranging from $95,000 to $374,000 for those joining the program. 

These tempting offers might look friendly enough on the surface. Still, in reality, they are just another attempt by China to weaponize Canada’s academic and scientific cooperation for its own strategic gain.

The CSIS shared that the PRC’s “policies and plans aim to exploit the collaborative, transparent and open nature of Canada’s research and innovation sector to serve PRC’s economic, security and military interests”. 

But despite the prompt warning, CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam could not confirm whether or not Canadian officials have already been recruited. This means it might be possible that the CSIS is reacting to the recruitment of certain employees instead of preemptively warning federal employees against it. 

However, CSIS did cite over 200 Chinese talent schemes, which represent a much larger-scale campaign to steal Canadian assets than this email campaign even reveals.  

According to the American FBI, these programs facilitate technology theft, trade secret stealing, and ethics violations. Participants must even subject themselves to China’s laws. 

Judging by the CSIS’ increasing number of public warnings, these Chinese programs are becoming a bigger and bigger threat as they severely jeopardize national security. 

It’s strange to see this rising escalation of infiltration on China’s part when Canada was once described as a “fireproof house” by Canadian politician Raoul Dandurand. 

Canada was known for its ideal position, protected on three sides by the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans, and bordering the friendly United States to the south. Canada was among the first Western leaders to open diplomatic relations with Beijing under Pierre Trudeau’s leadership. 

But now it finds itself in tense stand-offs with some of the world’s major rising powers, such as China and India. No longer the “fireproof house” Canada has become entangled in several dangerous foreign policy situations that have left it scrambling to protect its principles, priorities, and self-image.

In an extraordinarily short period of time, Canada has openly clashed with China on multiple fronts related to its sovereignty, demonstrating that Canada’s government can no longer watch from the sidelines. In the last year alone, Canada has called out China for meddling in its internal affairs and condemned the Chinese military for unsafe maneuvers near its planes over the South China Sea. 

China’s response was clearly seen at the G20 summit in Bali when President Xi Jinping rebuked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G20 summit in Bali last year. 

In a stunning interaction captured on video, Xi chastised a visibly shaken Trudeau for allegedly disclosing details of a private discussion between the two leaders. Trudeau’s shock was quite evident.

The frankly embarrassing encounter showcased how Canada’s position on the world stage has changed in recent years.

And even Trudeau’s own ministers recognize this, with Mélanie Joly, addressing this very same issue in a speech back in October.

While Trudeau’s government addresses the foreign threats to Canada’s democracy, it seems that they fail to realize the impact that may have on the safety and security of Canadians.

Most Canadians, on the other hand, do.

According to Roland Paris, a foreign policy specialist at the University of Ottawa, Canadians are realizing more and more that foreign policy matters can directly affect their lives.

Regarding China, we still have a long road ahead of us to recover from a long, deep freeze.

Ties between Canada and China severely deteriorated in 2018 after China imprisoned two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, for over three years. The two men became known as the “two Michaels.”

The detention of Kovrig and Spavor was broadly viewed as payback for Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of major Chinese telecom company Huawei, related to a U.S. extradition request. Kovrig and Spavor were released in 2021 as part of a prisoner swap after Meng signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government.

In another instance showcasing an example of Canada’s tense relations with China, Canada expelled a Chinese diplomat this year amid accusations of political meddling, after Canadian intelligence said he participated in intimidating an opposition MP who criticized China’s human rights record.

This followed media leaks about internal warnings from Canada’s spy agency CSIS on the matter. The leaks sparked criticism that Trudeau failed to take the threat seriously.

Once again, Trudeau proved unable or unwilling to respond firmly to blatant Chinese interference and intimidation tactics on Canadian soil. Warnings from his own intelligence service didn’t compel Trudeau to take meaningful action. Instead, he sat idle while China brazenly violated Canadian sovereignty.

Trudeau’s weak response exposes his consistent failure to stand up to the Chinese regime. Whether underestimating Huawei, dithering over retaliation for the “two Michaels,” or downplaying the latest political interference, Trudeau cedes Canadian interests to avoid upsetting China. His appeasement endangers national security.

And now, not much has changed.

According to Philippe Rheault, a recently retired Canadian diplomat focused on China, Beijing is ready to re-engage but finds Ottawa’s reluctance “somewhat bemusing.” 

Rheault, who heads the China Institute at the University of Alberta, says, “In Canada, there’s a lot of scarring from the ‘Two Michaels’ episode and a sense that China used coercive behavior. That, combined with low favorability ratings for China in Canada, makes Canadian officials wary of engagement.”

Another former diplomat called the Michaels case a “searing, traumatizing experience” for Canadians as it personified a “big country trying to bully a small country.”

In September, Trudeau’ failed attempt at downplaying prospects of a detente, saying Chinese actions made it “more difficult.” At the recent APEC forum, Trudeau told Xi their teams should have “constructive dialogue”, using language alluding to his Melanie Joly’s “pragmatic diplomacy” that is “part of the ongoing engagement that Canada needs to have . . . including with countries we disagree with.”

However, according to Lynette Ong of the University of Toronto, Trudeau’s hands are now “really tied” due to pressure from the Opposition to get tough on China. At the same time, Trudeau faces terrible polling numbers ahead of an upcoming federal election.

Moreover, former national security advisor Vincent Rigby says that beyond China and India, a critical longer-term question is whether Ottawa is responding seriously enough to the crumbling international order, which has lacked a comprehensive strategy since 2005. 

As Rigby stated: “We are lacking a bit of strategic direction in a world that is being buffeted by change.”

And it seems that Trudeau has made Canada stagnant.

If Trudeau remains passive while China pillages our secrets and sovereignty, we risk becoming a vassal state of the CCP empire. The “Two Michaels” saga was just a preview of China holding Canada hostage.

The time has come for citizens to demand real accountability. Our leaders’ first duty is to protect Canada. If they can’t or won’t stand up to China’s espionage machine, they’ve betrayed the country. And they should pay the price at the ballot box.

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