While the corporate media is creating a xenophobic hysteria over supposed Chinese interference in Canadian politics, the bigger story of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) interference is being ignored. CSIS has blatantly violated their own Security of Information Act by leaking information and manipulating political sentiment at home. Scandalously, instead of pointing out the role CSIS is playing, the NDP is following suit with the capitalist media. As the largest spy agency in Canada, CSIS is an arm of the capitalist state. It has consistently violated the democratic rights of Canadians for the sake of protecting capitalist interests. We must not be fooled: CSIS is no friend of the working class. 

CSIS breaks its own laws 

Mid-February this year, it was revealed that individuals within CSIS had been secretly meeting with the media and leaking documents on alleged Chinese interference into the last federal elections. This was a blatant violation of CSIS’ own Security of Information Act, which is supposed to prevent the leaking of information before being verified by the courts and Department of Justice. Since the initial leak, CSIS has regularly gone through the media to contradict the statements of state officials including those of the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Effectively, CSIS has ignored Canadian “democratic” institutions to spread scandalous details on supposed threats to Canadian democracy. 

Yet, no one has been held accountable. Either CSIS knows who these individuals are and is actively letting them get away with it. Or, they do not know who the rogue agents are which means CSIS cannot even do their own job. 

New bits of information and allegations from CSIS sources have emerged every week for the last month and a half. One wonders why the full extent of the supposed interference could not be exposed all at once. Instead, like a leaky faucet, the information has been put out in the media drip by drip every day. This has been very effective in ensuring that this remains the dominant news story in Canada and it has had a serious impact on Canadian politics. 

A recent Nanos poll showed that over 90 per cent of Canadians are concerned about “China’s interference in Canadian society”. Since the leaks, the Canadian parliament has been embroiled in debates and motions and special committees about supposed Chinese interference. CSIS is supposed to be “neutral” and “non-partisan” and yet, they have actively and illegally transformed politics in Canada. Some may respond that all this is justified given the level of threat posed by Chinese interference. What exactly is being alleged? 

Chinese interference is pathetic

The Globe and Mail published the details shared by CSIS which allegedly reveal that the Chinese government tried “to ensure that a minority Liberal government was returned in 2021, and that certain Conservative candidates identified by China were defeated.” How did they ensure this happened? By having “Chinese diplomats and their proxies back the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals—but only to another minority government—and worked to defeat Conservative politicians considered to be unfriendly to Beijing.” This apparently involved the “Chinese Consulate in Toronto sending busloads of Chinese seniors into nomination meetings.” In other words, Chinese Canadians promoted voting Liberal over Conservative. That is a far cry from the media’s presentation that “China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy.” Bussing grannies to vote as a covert operation seems more pathetic than sophisticated. 

One supposed tactic of interference was having “business owners hire international Chinese students and assign them to volunteer in electoral campaigns on a full-time basis.” So simply having Chinese people around is enough to threaten potential interference! In fact, the Globe quotes CSIS agents suggesting that Chinese Canadians are “vulnerable” and “easy to influence”. This is nothing but a xenophobic representation of Chinese immigrants. 

Another CSIS allegation published by the Globe is that “China’s consulate in Toronto had targeted 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election.” There are no names given of who these 11 candidates are or how they were targeted. The Globe even admitted that no candidates were impacted by China interference: “CSIS Director David Vigneault told Mr. Trudeau that there was no indication that China’s interference efforts had helped elect any of them.” At the same time, the media has continued to publish names of politicians linked to this supposed group of 11, including former Liberal MP Han Dong.  

On March 22, Global News published an article titled “Liberal MP Han Dong secretly advised Chinese diplomat in 2021 to delay freeing Two Michaels: sources.” This title alone is scandalous. Global states these allegations as if they are a fact with “sources” thrown in at the very end. They make this claim based on two anonymous CSIS sources. Whose phone did CSIS tap to come up with these allegations, the Canadian or Chinese? What was the actual conversation between Dong and the Chinese official, where is the transcript? The Global News journalist did not even bother to ask! 

The actual allegations themselves are full of contradictions. Initially the article states that “both sources said Dong allegedly suggested to Han Tao, China’s consul general in Toronto, that if Beijing released the ‘Two Michaels’, the Opposition Conservatives would benefit.” But then, the article goes on to say that “Dong also allegedly recommended that Beijing show some progress in the Kovrig and Spavor cases, the two sources said. Such a move would help the ruling Liberal Party, which was facing an uproar over China’s inhumane treatment of Kovrig and Spavor.” If there was serious political pressure on the Liberals to have the two Michaels released, how would it assist the Conservatives to have the Michaels released? Why would Dong tell Chinese officials that releasing the two Michaels would help the Conservatives and then state that releasing the two Michaels would help the Liberals? This is all completely contradictory and illogical. 

A Global News article references a 2022 Privy Council Report which stated that “a large clandestine transfer of funds earmarked for the federal election from the PRC Consulate in Toronto was transferred to an elected provincial government official via a staff member of a 2019 federal candidate.” No details on who was targeted, how much was provided or how the funds were transferred is provided. Yet again, the media has named names. 

Global News publicly named Vincent Ke, a former Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP. They justify this by stating that “two sources with knowledge of the CSIS investigation into the alleged election-interference network, assert that Ke received around $50,000, as part of a larger disbursement—roughly $250,000.” So the proof given amounts to some people in the know saying they think Ke received money somehow. These are not facts, this is gossip! If Ke did receive this funding, it is a violation of electoral funding regulations and he should be held accountable. But gossip is not sufficient. Ontario Premier Doug Ford commented on the situation: “With CSIS, everything’s a big secret, they don’t give you a proper briefing in my opinion. They will say a few comments and ‘we can’t tell you, we can’t tell you, we can’t tell you’.” The actual details of these allegations must be shared. 

The leaked information by spies in CSIS are presented as fact by the media and yet, they have made no attempt at verifying anything. It reveals the role the media is playing in fueling a Chinese interference fear campaign. The Beaverton recently published an article on the current situation where they joked that “if China wants to affect the outcome of Canada’s elections, they should do it the old fashioned way, by owning a 66 per cent stake in Postmedia.” In fact, almost half of all Canadian media is owned by Postmedia Network Canadian Corp., which is controlled by American capitalists with ties to the Republican Party. The Globe and Mail is owned by the richest family in Canada, the Thompson family. Considering that these media outlets are owned by the capitalists, we should not be surprised that instead of investigating the facts, they simply present a story to support anti-China interests. 

The Globe and Mail stated that “over the past decade, China, under President Xi Jinping, has adopted a more aggressive foreign policy as it seeks to expand its political, economic and military influence around the world.” In actuality, none of these Chinese interference allegations come close to the decades of political, economic, and military interference of the Canadian capitalist state abroad.

Canadian political interference

During a presidential visit from March 23-24, Trudeau debated American President Joe Biden about how many troops would be needed to interfere in Haiti. This comes after decades of political interference by the western imperialists in Haiti, where Canada played a leading role. In 2003, Canada hosted the “The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” and facilitated the armed kidnapping and overthrow of the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. For the crime of attempting to implement basic social reforms, then Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien promised the imperialist powers that “the international community should not have to wake up with Aristide in power on January 1, 2004.” This bloody intervention and subsequent imperialist meddling has left Haiti in desperate conditions of poverty and violence. 

In 2019, the Trudeau Liberals condemned Venezuela as a dictatorship and supported the attempted right-wing coup by Juan Guaido by providing him $53 million. That far exceeds the supposed funding manipulation by the Chinese government!

Recently, the Canadian state announced new import bans on Russian goods in order to influence regime change in Russia. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly stated, “We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now—because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically—and what are the impacts also on society and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia.” It is the absolute height of hypocrisy for the Canadian state to condemn political interference. Not only has the Canadian ruling class politically interfered in elections, they have funded and supported coups and invasions all around the world. 

Weapons of mass manipulation

A CSIS official who leaked information recently wrote an anonymous opinion piece in the Globe and Mail. There they admitted that “I do not believe that foreign interference dictated the present composition of our federal government.” Meaning that Chinese interference did not actually impact the elections. If there is no serious threat of Chinese interference, what is the real aim of CSIS?

Today, the crisis of capitalism has created the crisis of globalization. While an internationally united economy and society would reap massive benefits for humanity under socialism, for each capitalist state, they are more worried about protecting the profits of their national capitalists. This is reflected in the growing conflict between the big capitalist powers of the U.S. and China. 

Over the last decade, Canada has been more openly falling in line behind the U.S. against Chinese capitalism. This was the basis of the conflict with Huawei and the recent ban on the use of TikTok by public-sector workers. The current frenzy manufactured by CSIS is laying the groundwork for a more aggressive stance against China. 

This is not the first time that a capitalist state has orchestrated a fear mongering campaign against “foreign threats” to manipulate public opinion. Perhaps the best example is the “weapons of mass destruction” story told by the western imperialists to justify the invasion of Iraq. In the end, no weapons of mass destruction were found. American President George W. Bush even had to admit that the supposed weapons were never important to the invasion! The imperialists’ ultimate mission to eliminate Saddam Hussain was accomplished at the expense of thousands of innocent lives and societal collapse. At home, the weapons of mass destruction lie also fueled a rise in Islamophobia. Today we see a similar trend with the Chinese interference campaign and the rise in xenophobic attacks on Chinese Canadians. 

CSIS is a threat to democratic rights and the working class

CSIS is Canada’s largest spy agency, formed in the 1980s with a mandate to maintain “stability” and protect Canada’s “national interests”. Since its creation, CSIS has upheld this mandate by targeting Indigenous, environmental, and labour activists inside Canada. 

In 2014, it was revealed that CSIS was monitoring the rallies and following all the events around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and that it was spying on protests against the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, the Energy East and Eastern Mainline Projects, and the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project. During the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, CSIS and other federal spy agencies collected the social media information of organizers and groups present. CSIS has also worked with the RCMP to spy on the labour movement as well, including the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. 

Is it not a security threat that Canadians are being spied on and denied their democratic right to protest and freedom of speech? Early this year, a report by The National Security and Intelligence Review Agency warned that CSIS has very little accountability for its actions and the threat the agency poses to democratic rights. 

Ultimately, the Canadian capitalist state and its various police and spy agencies are not neutral. They are designed to protect the interests and rule of the capitalist class and to defend private ownership over the commanding heights of the economy. This is the class nature of CSIS. 

NDP and Conservatives join anti-China media frenzy

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also joined the media chorus and called for an inquiry into Chinese interference. This ignores the role CSIS has played in the class struggle in Canada including spying on the NDP itself. A 2006 report by Canadian Press revealed that the RCMP and other intelligence agencies spied on NDP leader Tommy Douglas for three decades. Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1941 and was the first to implement universal health care, and was therefore seen as a threat. Having attached itself to the capitalist status quo, it is not surprising to see the NDP leadership join the bandwagon of the anti-China campaign. 

This China fear mongering campaign has had a serious impact on political consciousness in Canada and it has thrown the Trudeau Liberal government into a political crisis. Federal Conservative Leader Poilievre is doing his best to not let the crisis go to waste. Poilievre tweeted: “Justin Trudeau has done nothing but try to intimidate members of CSIS, tried to attack the courageous whistleblowers in our intelligence services who’ve been attempting to speak out.” The Conservatives are clearly attempting to manipulate the situation for their own gain. 

As mentioned above, the Trudeau government has already been more boldly adopting an anti-China position as they fall in line behind American imperialism. However, it appears that CSIS thinks the Liberals are not anti-China enough and they have effectively interfered to impose their perspective. If the shadow elements of the capitalist state can illegally manipulate politics, how truly democratic is Canadian democracy? The Conservatives may regret encouraging these cracks, which are exposing the real nature of the capitalist state.

The enemy is at home

Canadian capitalists have expanded their share of wealth to unprecedented levels. Meanwhile, social services are being dismantled, wages are lagging far behind inflation, and working people are struggling to make ends meet. At home and abroad, the capitalist class’ desire to protect their profits always comes at the expense of the international working class. 

To protect their position in society, the boss’ class has relied on the state in various ways. From back-to-work legislation to the police violently tearing up homeless encampments, the state is ultimately a servant of the capitalist class. CSIS is just one part of this state and its record shows that the only security threat they are worried about is anything that challenges the profit motive. 

The Canadian working class must not be fooled by the political manipulation of CSIS. The labour movement should denounce the xenophobic campaign against China and Chinese people fostered by our rulers. While the capitalist state is attempting to create its own narrative to bolster support for imperialism, we must boldly point the finger at them and say: the enemy is at home!