Clandestine police stations: Canada lectured the Chinese ambassador
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Peiwu Cong
Canada scolded the Chinese Ambassador “repeatedly” after learning of the the existence of so-called clandestine police stations in the country, a senior official revealed before a parliamentary committee.
The Government of Canada has formally insisted that the Chinese government, including the Ambassador and his Embassy, account for all activities in Canada that fall outside the scope of the Vienna Convention and ensure that they cease immediately, Weldon Epp, the director general for Northeast Asia at the Foreign Office, said Tuesday evening.
In his response to Conservative Public Safety Critic Raquel Dancho, Epp said Ottawa reserves the option to make further decisions based on China's reaction. The Canadian diplomat declined to provide further details in public, such as during the meeting he was attending.
As is his custom on the subject, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday dodged all questions put to him, including whether he was aware of the existence of these police stations before that a foreign NGO would reveal it to the general public and what options were Canada considering if China did not shut them down.
Our intelligence services [… ] follow and they are aware, they give me information regularly on the interference that various foreign governments bring against Canadian communities, he declared during a conference release in London, Ontario.
In a press scrum, the Conservative lieutenant for Quebec, Pierre Paul-Hus, said he was surprised to learn the news in this way in a parliamentary committee when, for weeks, the government has been keeping all the issues very secret. relating to China's involvement in Canadian territory, including a possible attempt to interfere in the elections.
It takes a clear direction from Justin Trudeau, he continued. We really have to know where we are going with all this, because there are too many elements everywhere, like police stations, interference in universities.
Bloc Québécois foreign affairs critic Stéphane Bergeron said it was all the more worrying that the federal government could have been at the aware of the existence of such police stations, which could subject members of the Chinese community in the country to pressure, that this information has not been made public.
These offshore police stations, if they exist, would contravene provisions of international treaties, should be closed and their existence could not go unpunished, he insisted. According to him, Canada must offer a forceful response commensurate with the seriousness of the actions taken.
Troubling situations regarding China's activities in Canada are piling up. The Global Network reported, citing unnamed sources, earlier this month that the Prime Minister was warned in January of a widespread effort of alleged Chinese interference in the 2019 election campaign, including by funds believed to have been received by at least 11 candidates.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed on Tuesday that investigations are underway into interference activities by foreign actors to a committee trying to elucidate what efforts China allegedly made to influence the 2019 general election.