Threat Surveillance

Canadian leaks no issue for allies?

A U.S. Administration official said today that leaks about alleged Chinese meddling in Canadian electoral processes have not affected Five Eyes intelligence sharing. “There's no breach of trust […] whatsoever,” said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, adding that the U.S. supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approach to the issue. [node:read-more:link]

PM sets out Johnston’s mandate

Former Governor-General David Johnston, tasked with looking into foreign interference in Canadian politics, has been promised “complete access” by the Prime Minister. While he has two months to decide whether a public inquiry is warranted, Johnston’s mandate letter gives him more time to dig into the “extent and impact of foreign interference”, to determine “what the government did to defend Canada”, and how it could be improved. [node:read-more:link]

Globe & Mail protects anonymous source

An anonymous veteran federal public servant was identified today as the source for a series of internationally embarrassing disclosures about foreign interference in Canadian affairs and about seeming government indifference or reluctance to act over the years. Acknowledging the prospect of eventual prosecution if identified, the whistleblower explains the reasons for sharing concerns about an evolving threat. [node:read-more:link]

Former G-G leads election probe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that former Governor General David Johnston is the government’s “special rapporteur” investigating Opposition-fuelled allegations of Chinese meddling in Canada’s last two elections. Appointed in 2010 by Conservative PM Minister Stephen Harper, Johnston remained in the vice-regal post until 2017 and in agreeing to his latest assignment, he steps down as head of the independent Leaders’ Debates Commission. [node:read-more:link]

Ex-NSICOP member calls “B.S.”

Retired Conservative Senator Vern White is challenging Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre’ characterization of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Poilievre described NSICOP’s work as “secret hearings, secret evidence and secret conclusions” controlled by Prime Minister. “Obviously that’s B.S.," says White, insisting that “our work was […] totally unfettered” even though the PM ensures security elements are redacted before NSICOP reports are made public. [node:read-more:link]

China denied diplomatic visa

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly disclosed today that Canada refused a diplomatic visa for a “political operative” to take up a new post at China’s embassy in Ottawa. Asked by a Conservative MP whether Canada had expelled any Chinese officials, she pointed out that “for any expulsion there is an expulsion afterwards of us in China and right now our biggest challenge is to understand how China operates, how they plan, how they work.” [node:read-more:link]

PM “slow to act” on security warning

Announcing a review by a parliamentary committee of foreign interference in Canada’s electoral process, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged March 6 that his administration hasn’t always heeded outside advice on security matters. “Canada has been slow to act to the threat,” he said. “We have to do a better job on following up on those recommendations; I fully accept that.” [node:read-more:link]

Election fuss going to NSICOP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the question of foreign interference in Canada’s electoral processes is being referred to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. NSICOP is comprised of members of the Commons and Senate from all parties with “top secret” security clearance. The opposition parties, meanwhile, continue to push for a “public inquiry” even though that could go behind closed doors when reviewing issues of national security. [node:read-more:link]

Lobbyist registry a simple fix?

As the federal government continues to struggle with the concept of a legal registry of foreign agents in Canada, it’s suggested that it should “copy and paste” Australia’s five-year-old legislation. This is the advice offered by a former Privy Council Clerk and a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. [node:read-more:link]

Joly calls China increasingly disruptive

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said today that NORAD will takes a strong stance to protect Arctic sovereignty as more reports of foreign interference emerge. “We will challenge China when we ought to, and we will cooperate with China when we need to,” she said. “When it comes to issues over the Arctic within our maritime borders, or any form of foreign interference, we will be clear. [node:read-more:link]

Russian cyberattacks flagging

Leading up to the invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Russian hackers began laying the foundation for an unprecedented cyber onslaught not just against Kyiv but also its NATO allies. That digital campaign went into overdrive alongside the kinetic attack but the Google-owned Mandiant cybersecurity firm reported February 16 that Moscow seems unable to keep up the pace for now. [node:read-more:link]

G-G facing on-line abuse

Governor General Mary Simon’s office said today it is turning off the comments sections on its social media accounts due to increasing “abusive, misogynistic and racist engagement on social media and online platforms, including a greater number of violent threats.” Appointed in July 2021, the former civil servant, broadcaster and diplomat is the first indigenous holder of the vice-regal office. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign research collaboration curtailed

The federal government will stop funding research with Chinese military and state security institutions and is urging the provinces and universities to do likewise. Announcing the move late February 14, Innovation, Science & Industry Minister François-Phillipe Champagne also said the Canada Foundation for Innovation and federal granting councils will screen grant applications from universities collaborating with hostile states. [node:read-more:link]

China-U.S. ballooning relationship

As Canada and the U.S. continue to investigate airspace incursions by “flying objects”, including a Chinese “spy” balloon and three others shot down by NORAD in the past week or so, the Chinese foreign ministry said February 13 that the U.S. has flown balloons into its airspace more than 10 times in the past year. “It’s not uncommon for the U.S. to illegally enter the airspace of other countries,” an official said. “The first thing the U.S. side should do is start with a clean slate, undergo some self-reflection, instead of smearing and accusing China.” [node:read-more:link]

Caution urged on agent registry

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a parliamentary committee February 6 that implementing a registry of foreign agents should be culturally sensitive. “There is a historical context when it comes to some communities within this country and their relationship with agencies and the law-enforcement community,” he said. “We need to be diligent and thoughtful and inclusive when it comes to bringing all Canadians along in the modernization of the tools and the arsenal that we create for our national security and intelligence communities.” [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - Threat Surveillance