A Liberal MP says a foreign agent registry could be a “wake-up call” for Canadians regarding potential Chinese interference in the country’s affairs.
John McKay, the MP for Toronto’s Scarborough—Guildwood, told Global News he’s not sure whether Canadians have completely come to grips with the extent China may be manipulating not only its diaspora in Canada but also the society at large.
Canada is currently debating whether to create a foreign influence registry. It would require those who act on behalf of a foreign state to advance its goals to disclose their ties to the government employing them. McKay said such a registry would raise awareness and “alert functions.”
“I hope that it acts as a bit of a wake-up call for us all,” he said.
McKay recently made a trip to Taiwan as part of a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians and said they are far more aware of Chinese interference in their society, noting that many Canadians are largely unaware of the “threat environment” here.
Canada has expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei after revelations he allegedly tried to target Conservative MP Michael Chong over his critical stance on China’s treatment of its Ughyur minority. Chong had backed a vote in the House of Commons pushing for the treatment to be labelled a genocide.
China in retaliation expelled Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, a Canadian diplomat in the Shanghai consulate.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was reportedly passing information to Global Affairs about Zhao’s efforts for three years, according to the Globe and Mail.
“You have to be concerned,” McKay said of the report. “You just have to be.”
He questioned whether the detainment of Michael Spavor and Michale Kovrig in China at the time — widely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou — could have potentially impacted Canada’s willingness to act on the information.
“What’s greatly disturbing news is that it works. Kidnapping … constrains our reactions,” McKay said.
China has hinted it may retaliate against Canada further, saying it will “act firmly.”
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Read the full article here