China is using its wealth to interfere in Canada’s affairs by currying favour among Canadian politicians, business leaders and other influential individuals, a report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians claims.
The report also singles out Ottawa for not doing enough to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s influence through the use of countermeasures.
“The People’s Republic of China utilizes its growing economic wealth to mobilize interference operations: ‘with deep coffers and the help of western enablers, the Chinese Communist Party uses money, rather than Communist ideology, as a powerful source of influence, creating parasitic relationships of long-term dependence,” claims the report.
The report labels Canada as an “attractive and permissive target” for interference operations by countries like China and the Russian Federation.
Among the institutions targetted in these operations are various levels of national and sub-national governments, the mainstream and ethnic media, as well as academia.
“The threat faced by Canada’s governance and decision-making institutions is not only a federal problem. Elected and public officials across all orders of government are targeted: members of the executive branch, members of Parliament, senators, members of provincial legislative assemblies, municipal officials and representatives of Indigenous governments,” writes the report.
According to former ambassador to China David Mulroney, the CCP uses its wealth to sway Canadian political and business leaders in their favour.
“There are people a lot more senior than I was in government, and they have some serious business links with China,” Mulroney told Global News.
“China is very willing to weaponize trade and investment to compel people to say what they want them to say.”
Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne recently got into political hot water after it was revealed that he had a million-dollar mortgage on two properties in the UK with a Chinese state-owned bank.
Critics of Champagne’s financial decision to accept a loan from the bank questioned whether it opened up the minister to potential influence from the foreign state.
Champagne has since repaid the two mortgages with the Bank of China and refinanced them with a Canadian bank.