RCMP Investigating Media Leaks on Beijing Foreign Interference

RCMP Investigating Media Leaks on Beijing Foreign Interference
The RCMP logo is seen in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)
Noé Chartier

A criminal investigation has been launched into the leaking of classified information to the media pertaining to the Beijing regime's interference in Canada, the RCMP told The Epoch Times on March 6.

The investigation relates to violations of the Security of Information Act, as several national security sources have leaked information of a “secret” and “top secret” nature to Global News and the Globe and Mail in recent months.

The RCMP wouldn't confirm if the investigation is internal or external, with a spokesperson only saying that “this investigation is not focused on any one security agency.”

“As the RCMP is investigating these incidents, there will be no further comment on this matter at this time,” said Cpl. Kim Chamberland.

While the RCMP is investigating the leaks, a senior official told the Commons procedure and House affairs committee on March 2 there was no investigation into foreign interference related to the 2019 or 2021 elections.

“We did not receive any actionable intelligence that warned us to initiate a criminal investigation,” said Deputy Commissioner Michael Duheme.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director David Vigneault said in committee on March 2 that his agency is investigating the leaks, along with other unspecified partners.

Much of the information leaked to the press is drawn from CSIS intelligence and investigations, but no media outlet has identified any of the information as coming from a CSIS employee.

“I think it’s important to put in context that information that is in the public domain may or may not be coming from the Service or from other agencies,” Vigneault said.

Based on some of the media reporting published thus far, it appears that some of the leaks could have come from within the RCMP.

Global News said in a Nov. 16 article on Beijing's interference that it had obtained information from “RCMP sources.”

The article provided details of a CSIS investigation into a Toronto area businessman of Chinese origin.

The subject allegedly helped in 2019 to facilitate the transfer of about $250,000 from the Chinese consulate in Toronto to an Ontario MPP and a federal candidate staffer, who then redistributed the money 11 or more candidates.

A review of all the recent reporting from Global News and the Globe and Mail on Beijing’s election interference suggests there could be at least six sources leaking information if they are not talking to both outlets, with at least two of them being from the RCMP.

In its Feb. 24 story on Liberal MP Han Dong, Global talked of “three sources with knowledge of the investigation.”
In a Feb. 13 Globe and Mail article about CSIS warning the Liberal Party to be cautious of former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Michael Chan due to his Beijing links, two “national security sources” and one “government source” are cited.
The CSIS director was asked on March 2 whether the leaks were an indication of the dissatisfaction of his employees with how the Trudeau government is handling foreign interference.

“Does it say something about the tensions that might exist?” asked Bloc Québécois MP Christine Normandin.

“I would say that in an intelligence agency like ours, there are always different points of view and very serious discussions,” Vigneault answered. “It’s not an issue that there is this kind of tension within CSIS.”

MPs on the House of Commons procedure and House affairs committee passed a motion on March 2 calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into foreign interference.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thus far rejected such calls, saying current mechanisms are sufficient to deal with the issue.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on March 4 he was not “ruling out” the possibility of ending his deal keeping the minority Liberals in power if no public inquiry is launched.
Peter Wilson contributed to this report.