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‘The alleged behaviour is not treasonous’: Former CSIS head Richard Fadden on foreign interference by MPs and Senators

CSIS Director Richard Fadden waits to testify at the Commons public safety committee on Parliement Hill in Ottawa, Monday July 5, 2010. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Last week, a bombshell report on foreign interference from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) shed further light on the widespread efforts of states like China and India to meddle in Canada’s domestic affairs.

The nearly 100-page report was compiled after the committee, which includes members from all the major parties with high level security clearance, reviewed intelligence assembled by 10 federal bodies, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the RCMP, the Department of Justice, and Elections Canada.

The report alleges that unnamed sitting parliamentarians (MPs and senators) have wittingly or semi-wittingly accepted money from foreign states or their proxies, handed over confidential information about their colleagues to foreign diplomatic or intelligence officials, followed the orders of those foreign officials to sway the opinions of their peers, and communicated regularly with foreign missions during elections to gain support from desirable groups.

The Hub’s managing editor Harrison Lowman reached out to Richard Fadden, former CSIS director and one-time national security advisor to the prime minister, for his reaction.


HARRISON LOWMAN: Over the last few years, we’ve seen foreign interference intelligence media leaks, the David Johnston rapporteur report, and most recently the initial report from the public inquiry into foreign interference.

Among other things, they’ve detailed disinformation campaigns and diaspora intimidation. But to what extent is this latest NSICOP report adding something new to the table, in that it describes certain elected or appointed officials willingly cooperating with foreign actors or their proxies to damage Canadian interests?

RICHARD FADDEN: What is new, is that the allegations are specifically against parliamentarians accompanied by fairly detailed information illustrating their behaviour. In the past, most allegations did not specify who the “actors” were and did not provide details of the alleged activity. The level of detail provided by NSICOP adds credibility.

The Week in Polling: A convicted Trump, D-Day memories, and anti-Israel encampments

Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. (Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP)

Introducing “The Week in Polling”, your Saturday dose of interesting numbers from top pollsters in Canada and around the world, curated by The Hub. Here’s what we’re looking at this week.

A new ABC News and Ipsos poll shows that nearly half of Americans believe the charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump regarding falsifying business records were politically motivated. Despite that finding, the majority (56 percent) of the poll’s respondents have an “unfavourable” view of Trump.