“Spies” in the Parliament, mouths shut

OTTAWA – Does Canadians have the right to know who (names and surnames) are the federal politicians who have “knowingly” (and secretly) collaborated with countries that are not exactly “friends” of Canada such as China, India and Iran? The answer is “no”, according to the Liberals and the government of Justin Trudeau. But at least in this, the Prime Minister is not alone: ​​not even the opposition is speaking out. Probably, the problem is transversal.  

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Tuesday, evaded all questions relating to the explosive conclusions of the parliamentary committee on national security and intelligence (NSICOP), according to which there are parliamentarians in the House of Commons of Canada who, in fact, “work” for countries such as China, India, Iran: to these countries, some MPs would also have revealed State secrets.

“Let me just say this, we take foreign interference really, really seriously” Freeland said. “It needs to be law enforcement that takes the steps and takes the action” she added, without however making more precise references.

Other ministers, as Global News reports, were also pressed by journalists but no one opened their mouths, except to make generic statements: ministers Sean Fraser, Arif Virani and Dominic LeBlanc, all interviewed by journalists, did not name names.

The NSICOP report outlined several activities involving parliamentarians collaborating with countries such as China, India and Iran, including accepting money or favors from diplomats. In one of the most serious examples of foreign interference, a parliamentarian allegedly passed classified Canadian federal government information to a “known intelligence official of a foreign State”. Extremely serious facts, on which however – ministers aside – the various political leaders do not seem to go too far. NDP Leader, Jagmeet Singh, said there should be consequences if there is “clear evidence” of collusion. “There’s no way a member of Parliament should be able to continue to work in this place if they are assisting another government in interfering with our democracy. It’s just wrong” Singh simply said. Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet said he was “concerned” by the allegations. “It does bother me very much in the same Parliament where I work some people might voluntarily be under the influence of foreign powers”. But nothing more. As for the Conservatives, they even didn’t ask a single question about the report.

The “coldness” shown by all parties in front of the very serious facts highlighted by the report could be explained by the fact that, perhaps, the problem is “cross-cutting”: those parliamentary spies could in fact be from any party, because the problem is not political affiliation, but the origin. Although we do not know the names of the parliamentarians in question, it is plausible to assume that they are of Chinese, Indian and Iranian origin, given that the “beneficiary” countries of the confidential information are China, India and Iran.

A question arises spontaneously: since the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) “x-rays” all those who, once immigrants, undertake the path towards citizenship (which then allows them to access elective positions), how did it happen that its officials didn’t realize that some of those future citizens (and then, today, parliamentarians), when they came to Canada, could be “in odour of interference” (them or their families), also given the origins from countries that were not exactly “friends” of Canada?