The Comment

What foreign interference? It’s just business

TORONTO – If it sounds or feels as if we have heard or “seen this movie before”, we have. Canada seems in the grips of one of its navel-gazing rituals as the political system is consumed by the “issue” foreign interference in our fragile democracy. This time, we have some sneaky, vulnerable, short-sighted Members of Parliament to blame. Or so it would appear, thanks to the suggestions implied in a reading of a report by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) tasked with assessing threats to the safety and security of Canada and its inhabitants.

The CSIS shares its “findings” through a duly constituted Parliamentary Committee whose members are sworn to secrecy under pain of criminal prosecution and severe jail time upon conviction. In their latest report, CSIS claim is that foreign agencies (instruments of governments whose interests do not necessarily align with ours for reasons that serve their national plans exclusively) have infiltrated, and are manipulating, our political system. It’s bad.

Canada does not do this [apparently] if one excludes the recent accusation that prime Minister Modi’s government ordered the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada a year ago. At any rate, the Report, and any attendant recommendations, supposedly then finds its way to the RCMP for action, if any.

So, which agencies – the CIA (American), Mossad (Israeli), PLA (China), or their counterparts from India, Britain, France, Russia, or any of the Islamist states, including Hamas – should we worry about wanting to compromise our national integrity? Do any foreign leaders pose potential threats? We have had intemperate interference before… hello Charles De Gaulle. Now the “suspects” might be the ‘big boys” who dominate the International News: China, Iran, Russia, North Korea…

More to the point, who are these “corruptible” MPs whose propensity to fall victim to “honey traps”, the attraction of easy money or to the delivery of “manageable human resources” for economic or political gain? Until they are named, every MP – including the leaders of all political parties in the House of Commons – lives under a cloud of suspicion and is guilty by association.

A similar allegation was “implied” by then RCMP Commissioner, Norman Inkster, before a House Committee in the early 1990s, when he narrowed the number of MPs under scrutiny to fifteen if memory still serves me well. A certain John Nunziata MP was outraged that even the narrowing of the number still tarnished the reputation of the entire body of Parliamentarians.

It was the right reaction then, as it is now. MPs have enough detractors daily; they and the system do not need this additional smear.

More Articles by the Same Author: