The one thing you can expect with the summer is for things to heat up. This year, it's not just the thermometer, the papers have been filled over the past few weeks of the interesting comments being made by the head of CSIS, Richard Fadden. He had a little chat with a reporter from the CBC and made a few observations. One in particular that seems to have gotten under the skins of everybody is this little remark:
Yes, we now call it foreign interference. I don’t quite know when the terminology changed, but it’s called foreign interference. This is another area where I knew it existed but I was a bit surprised about the extent to which it is occurring. A number of countries take the view that if they can develop influence with people relatively early in their careers, they’ll follow them through. And all of a sudden, they’re a politician or they’re a public servant who exercises some influence and they can really have an impact.
There are also a couple of countries that use the universities. There are social clubs, you know, related to particular countries and before you know it, a country is providing them with money, there’s some sort of covert guidance. We’re in fact a bit worried in a couple of provinces that we have an indication that there’s some political figures who have developed quite an attachment to foreign countries. I think it’s the kind of thing that if you’re a country that has a lot of patience, this can really pay off. And there are a few who are like that.
He was invited to discuss his comments in from of a Commons Committee, after there has been a lot of howling by politicians demanding his head. He has stated, first of all, he has no desire to resign, and in my opinion,nor should he. He's also been accused of smearing a whole community of people in Canada.
If we forget all the noise and controversy, there is still one question, what if he's right. What if there's a whole lot of politicians who have a favourable opinion of a foreign government and that opinion is colouring their view of things, so that they are more interested in that foreign government then the needs of the people of Canada.
This is not to say those politicians have been bought outright by foreign interests, but what if they are encouraged to consider a few points of view. I don't think at least from reading what Mr. Fadden said, that these people are leaking classified secrets to those foreign governments, but I suppose another question would be, why do we think Canada would be immune to this sort of influence peddling. It has happened in a lot of nations, where compromise takes place, are we any different?
One thing I find disturbing is what groups are calling for his head, let me quote from an article in the Globe and Mail:
Bloc Québécois and New Democrat MPs on the committee were the most forceful in their criticism, calling on Mr. Fadden to resign. New Democrat Don Davies pointed out that the 1,600 municipal politicians in British Columbia have written a complaint letter over the director’s remarks.
“You have smeared them all,” Mr. Davies said.
So the Separatists and the Socialist are the most strident. Makes me wonder if any of their friends and associates aren't going to be found on a list some place.