Here’s what Richard Fadden told CBC TV in an on-the-record, on-the-air interview:
“There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”
A number of countries are involved, he said, but then went on to identify China as the prime culprit. As Chinese President Hu Jintao is about to make an important visit to Canada, this does not seem like the most adroit of foreign policy moves.
But that’s not all, of course. What about the “several municipal politicians in British Columbia” whom Fadden has now identified as spies, or traitors, or some combination of both? Would not one or some of them now want to sue, to have their names cleared? The effect of Fadden’s words have been to smear all Chinese-Canadian municipal politicians in B.C. There is now a cloud over the reputations of all of them – until such time as we know who Fadden was talking about, and who he wasn’t, all are suspect.
This is a pretty extraordinary mistake for our supposed top spy to make. He should be dismissed.
UPDATE: The reaction begins:
Harper had ‘no knowledge’ of claim politicians under foreign influence (CSIS-Politicians-Recr)
OTTAWA – A spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office says Stephen Harper was caught unaware by stunning allegations that several Canadian politicians are under the control of foreign governments.
The revelations from Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, point to foreign infiltration of municipal and provincial political ranks, including cabinet-level politicians.
Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas says the PMO has “no knowledge of these matters” and is directing all inquiries to CSIS.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the spy agency owes Canadians more information.
McGuinty says Fadden promised to alert the federal government so it could tell the relevant provincial governments about ministers being controlled by foreign governments.
Fadden declined to name the two cabinet ministers or their provinces, but he said a number of public servants in British Columbia are also under suspicion.
McGuinty says the province hasn’t been contacted so, from Ontario’s perspective, “no news is good news.”
He says the CSIS chief needs to elaborate and provide more details so any concerns can be addressed.