One of two provincial ministers former CSIS director Richard Fadden said in 2010 were feared to be under foreign influence has been identified to be Michael Chan, Ontario’s Immigration and Trade Minister, the Globe and Mail reported Tuesday, June 16.
In a 2010 briefing, Canadian Security Intelligence Service officials went as far as formally cautioning Ontario’s provincial government about their suspicions of Chan, reveals the Globe’s Craig Offman, who spent 10 months working on the investigation.
“Mr. Chan had developed too close a relationship with China’s consulate in Toronto, raising fears the minister was susceptible to interference from Beijing that could put Canada’s national interests at risk,” Offman reported.
The briefing came after Fadden had publicly backed down from his comments due to a backlash from provincial and federal political parties.
Chan was neither suspected of treason nor under investigation for espionage, but his overly close ties to Chinese officials—particularly Zhu Taoying, China’s consul-general in Toronto until 2012—were of particular concern to CSIS.
“At one point, CSIS alleged, Mr. Chan and Ms. Zhu were having daily conversations,” reported Offman.
In 2011, a source working for a street festival in Markham, Ont., revealed to the Epoch Times how Chan had this newspaper, which frequently reports on current affairs and human rights abuses in China, ejected from the event at the request of consul-general Zhu.
“The source involved in the Taste of Asia Street Festival, who wished not to be identified, says event organizers made a verbal commitment to an unhappy Michael Chan, (then) Ontario’s minister of tourism and culture, not to include the Epoch Times,” the Epoch Times reported.
The source said Zhu left the event after seeing the Epoch Times booth at the festival.
The festival received $75,000 in funding from Celebrate Ontario 2011, a fund administered by Chan’s then-department, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Chan is known for his close ties to China. He told a reporter with state-run Chinese media outlet Xinhua News Agency in Toronto in July 2008, just prior to his trip to attend the Beijing Olympics, that he’d visited China over 70 times since the early 1980s.
Chan has also met high-ranking officials with the United Front Work Department, an organization that aims to expand the influence of the Chinese Communist Party by infiltrating foreign countries.
He met Su Xiaoyun, head of United Front of Hubei province, in 2008 during a trip to China, and met him again at an event organized by the Chinese consulate in Toronto in 2011. He also met with Zang Aiming, the head of Qingdao United Front, in 2010, according to media reports.
Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior intelligence officer and manager at CSIS, said the United Front Work Department falls under the Chinese intelligence services system.