, 03.24.2023 01:52 AM

My latest: treason?

Can he be charged with treason?

It’s a question many are asking. It’s a fair question.

Since Wednesday night, when Global News dropped a bomb on Canadian politics – that former Liberal MP Han Dong had allegedly lobbied China’s regime to keep two Canadians in prison there – that’s a question I’ve been asked many times: if the allegations are true, can Dong be prosecuted for treason?

It’s important to emphasize, here, that the Toronto-area MP hasn’t been charged with any crime. He’s resigned from the Liberal caucus to clear his name – as did a Conservative MPP in Ontario did earlier this month, for similar reasons – but no one has charged Han Dong with breaking any law.

And that may be because there’s no law to charge him with breaking.

In Canada, as with our allies, “treason” remains a serious crime. In the Criminal Code, it is defined in this way: “Every one commits treason who, in Canada, uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province…

“[Or] without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada.”

We’ve got a criminal prohibition against “high treason,” too. But it’s a dramatically higher bar for prosecutors to clear. High treason is killing or attempting to kill our King or Queen – or waging actual war against Canada, or helping the enemy during a time of war.

But, as far as we know, we’re not at war. And, so far, the allegations against Dong don’t seem to fit a “treason” charge, either.

In the United States, someone facing similar charges might not be so lucky.

The Americans don’t mess around. There, treason is a capital offence – you can be put to death for it.

Chapter 115 of the U.S. Code: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years.”

Having sworn an oath to Canada, the allegations Dong faces would be a violation of a similar law here. And “giving aid or comfort” to the enemy – here, China – would easily describe the untried allegations against Han Dong.

In Britain, the law against treason has been around for nearly seven centuries. It’s one of the oldest statutes in the United Kingdom

Though amended many times over the years, The Treason Act 1351, as in Canada, distinguishes between treason and high treason. High treason is killing the King or Queen – but also, originally, less serious offences like making counterfeit currency.

Ironically (given their origins), Americans seem to have borrowed the “aid or comfort” idea from the Brits. There, the allegations against Dong would arguably amount to high treason. The last Briton executed for treason – collaborating with wartime Germany – was hanged in 1946.

For those who remain livid about the allegations against Han Dong, we’re sorry: he can’t be charged with high treason or even mere treason.

He wasn’t a cabinet minister or a senior bureaucrat or a member of the military, so he isn’t easily caught by the new version of the Official Secrets Act, the Security of Information Act. Did he – as the Act says – harm “Canadian interests”?

The interests of the two Michaels, to be sure. But were those identical to Canada’s? That’s less clear.

What’s clear, however, is this: while Han Dong may not be in any legal jeopardy, he sure is, politically.

CSIS is not his friend. And CSIS has apparently decided he needed to be removed from the Trudeau government.

And he has been.


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    Martin Dixon says:

    If it is true, I would sue him into bankruptcy if I were the two Michaels.

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    RKJ says:

    I wonder what other leaks CSIS may have waiting to be released. Whenever one news item breaks and then quiets down as the news cycle moves elsewhere, a new leak seems to emerge.

    Might a “Justin solution” be to shut down CSIS? Really, what good are they to him? A fawning NDP coalition provides the cover….. I know, this is far-fetched, perhaps. However, I see no moral compass at play with this prime minister and his government.

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    Chris Haines says:

    At this point, failure to call a public inquiry is just making the Liberals look like liars. This is no different than Mulroney with a suitcase of cash or any of the other corrupt politician stories we have seen. Hold a public inquiry and either prove to the world the allegations are false or immaterial. Remember the Gomery commission when Chretien made has accusers look like idiots? That’s what an innocent man does. Not hides.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I’m of two minds about this: I’m thrilled beyond measure about the leaks but do not take to the idea of any intelligence agency calling the tune over our democratic institutions. To me, that is a bridge too far.

    However, if anyone has irrefutable evidence that our national security has been compromised by whomever, then out with it, the quicker the better.

    I think this Prime Minister is central to this thing. His role may be what ultimately takes down this government. No wonder they are dead set against an inquiry.

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      Kevin B says:

      I’m very concerned about the leaks too. It is not acceptable for the security apparatus to be releasing such information publicly.

      I don’t recall this happening before, so I ask why. It could be that one or more people within CSIS just want to take down the Liberal government. That’s possible, but I think unlikely. While I’m speculating, I think it is more likely that they are frustrated that reporting information through the normal channels isn’t having any effect, so that are acting patriotically in an effort to protect the country.

      If that’s correct, then the current government has a lot for which to answer. It is for that reason that I favour a public inquiry. Only a public inquiry will reveal whether those in the government have been either complicit in foreign interference, or have downplayed and refused to take appropriate steps to counteract it.

      We learned from the SNC Lavalin affair that we cannot trust this government to tell the truth. That was serious. This is more existential.

      Not even an election is a solution since we could end up with the same Parliament, and the government will take reelection as a validation of its non-response.

      We need a public inquiry.

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        Sean says:

        I honestly thought it was only a matter of time that something like this would happen. Not foreign based election interference specifically, no one could have predicted that, but that someone in the security apparatus would start speaking out. I’ve had zero faith from the get go that this cabinet was capable of handling any serious international relations issues. At some point it was going to boil over and bureaucrats were going to start shining a light on things so that Canadians could know that…. um…hey everyone… we don’t have normal civilian oversight happening here right now. I support the leaks 110%.

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          Martin Dixon says:

          Me too. At some point, the adults need to step in.

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          The Doctor says:

          Certainly there are journalists, authors and other knowledgeable people who have been sounding alarm bells about this for years now, and basically our governments have done sweet fuck all. Jonathan Manthorpe’s Claws of the Panda is just one example. So I get it that one or more of these people with truly explosive inside information might finally lose patience and strategically leak like this.

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            Gloriosus et Liber says:

            Great book.

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          Gloriosus et Liber says:

          Over 10 years ago, then CSIS director, Richard Fadden, tried to warn Parliament about Chinese influence operations targeting federal and provincial ministers.

          For his trouble, Parliament censured him.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        To my knowledge, this is the only thing that comes close:


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    Dave says:

    It appears they are allowing a Dictatorship to influence election results as well as possibly encouraging the same communists into leaving 2 Canadians in a Communist prison cell in order to again influence an election. If someone was say trying to out the Prime minister in order to drum up hate then you would have my support with this. But just an opinion.

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    Steve T says:

    I think this is evidencing something of greater concern – a disconnect between CSIS and the government.
    I know people who work for CSIS, and to a person they are all honorable folks who truly want what is best for the country. They come from various political stripes. Therefore, for information to be leaked suggests a lack of faith that the government would do the right thing if that information were disclosed privately through traditional channels. That’s a big problem.
    In a way, this reminds me of the lack of faith between U.S. intelligence agencies and Trump during his reign of idiocy. Eventually, the intelligence agencies put their loyalty to country before their loyalty to a clearly-deficient leader. I suspect that’s what is happening in Canada, too.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Just like Trump, these bozos only have one priority: to find and punish the whistleblowers. Tells you exactly all you have to know about the mentality of these TRUDEAU Liberals. They need to be kicked to the curb in an election. Personally, make my day and call an election tomorrow.

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    Lorne says:

    For this information to come out now it is likely a warning to Katie Telford and Trudeau. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or expect further leaks to expose them.

    Usually the truth is less damaging than the rumours. Hopefully it is enough to cause an election and change of government.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      They’re in a catch-22. They can’t possibly tell the truth because then they’re gone in an election. They LUV power far too much to willingly do anything that might make them lose that power. Last time, the bastard threw Butts under the bus. Telford’s turn is next. It’s only a matter of time. He will do literally anything and everything just to save his own skin.

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    Robert White says:

    A leaker in CSIS would never survive the job. It’s a planned leak timed for headlines when President Biden was visiting. It’s a tactical leak of what’s at play geopolitically with China itself. Han Dong is just a victim of a geopolitical play for NATO involvement in Ukraine & soon to be Taiwan theater of cold war.

    CSIS is subordinate and would only do something like a planned leak if the PM went along with it and the planners were CIA and not CSIS.

    As a Counterintelligence individual myself I would think that there are myriad reasons for the leak that didn’t emanate from CSIS or CSE.

    Don’t forget that CSIS is a Five Eyes signatory.

    And never forget that Sigmund Freud said “There are no accidents.” Leaks? meh

    P.S. I enjoyed this article, Warren. Lots to digest here.


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      I would go further: I suspect that most of the leaks are indeed not domestically generated, to give our own agencies cover. At a minimum, Biden must have given this Prime Minister a thorough dressing down and sought both explanations and firm assurances for the future. If the leaks dry up, then Trudeau will have been put in his place. If the leaks continue, then the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Five Eyes is indirectly determined to effect regime change in Ottawa.

      Remember that Five Eyes are a habitual proxy for each other: when what’s required in intelligence is transferred to a Five Eyes partner, it’s generally because that action would be illegal under domestic law if undertaken by that country’s intelligence agencies. This seems like more of that. The tried and true cover pattern in transnational intelligence circles.

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        Robert White says:

        You have a sophisticated perspective on this stuff, Ronald.
        That’s why I very much appreciate your knowledge base and experience vis-a-vis tactical play & strategy.

        This particular subject matter is extremely complicated given the geopolitics. And I don’t have your strategic skillset or Warren’s.

        Bottom line for me is Freud’s statement that ‘there are no accidents’ which is my sentiment wholeheartedly.


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          Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Thanks. But I’m no Michel Juneau-Katsuya.

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          Douglas W says:

          Wonder if PMJT has drawn the conclusion that there’s many people, out to get him.

          And that might include MPs, who have safe seats, who are okay, being in Opposition because they didn’t have a role in his government, anyway.

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            Ronald O'Dowd says:


            No, no, not at all. Every Liberal, like every Canadian, absolutely loves this guy. Trust me. LOL.

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    Curious V says:

    I read an article in the Globe, penned by the leaker. He, or she, claims to be a liberal, and emphasizes that this is not a partisan issue. Take it for what it’s worth, straight from the horses mouth.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Curious V,

    OK, let me take this down: one Liberal, not prepared to suck Justin Trudeau’s ass.

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    Curious V says:

    It’s pretty common, in my experience, that party members are prepared to be critical of their leader – happens all the time. The leaker hopes to vote liberal again, they said – and had never intended for this to be a partisan issue.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Curious V,

      Then the leaker is dreaming in technicolour. This thing, by its very nature, is necessarily political in spades. Why anyone would think otherwise is beyond me. You necessarily make hay when the sun shines and the sun is a shining incredibly brightly, at least for the opposition parties, that is.

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