THE BUREAU: CSIS Intercepts Calls Revealing Beijing's Meddling in Canada's 2021 Election Through Clandestine Support

China on a glowing globe with political borders

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CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, reportedly intercepted phone calls between a Consul General and a middleman for a federal candidate in Canada's 2021 election. These calls provide compelling evidence of Beijing's meddling in the election through covert support from a "loyal" Chinese Canadian community group. The intercepted calls suggest that China's Consular networks use proxy agents and co-opted community leaders to indirectly fund and support their preferred candidates, revealing gaps in Canada's foreign interference laws.

The report highlights cases where a Consul General allegedly supported a candidate through a Chinese Canadian community association, leveraging trusted interlocutors and co-opted community groups while maintaining insulation between the Consulate and the candidates. Another case involves Chinese-linked proxies attempting to control a federal Electoral District Association in order to influence nomination processes and control finances.

These cases demonstrate Beijing's sophisticated strategies for foreign interference in Canadian elections, emphasizing the need for improved foreign interference laws, including the establishment of a foreign agent registry as recommended by Trudeau's NSICOP intelligence review body in 2019. It remains to be seen if the upcoming Foreign Interference Commission will address these specific allegations.