A Parliamentary committee acknowledged that Beijing operated “police service stations” in Canada — more than a year into an alleged espionage probe by the RCMP.
The Special Committee on Canada-China Relations tabled a report Tuesday to confirm the ongoing probe amid formal diplomatic protests to the Chinese Ambassador, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Although the Chinese Communist Party portrays the overseas police service stations as facilities providing administrative and consular services, witnesses emphasized they also monitor diaspora communities, collect civil intelligence, harass and intimidate individuals who are critical of China policies and assist China public security authorities with coerced return operations,” said the report Chinese Communist Party’s Overseas Police Service Stations.
China operated seven “overseas police service centres” in Canada, including in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Montréal.
According to a 2022 document by Safeguard Defenders, more than 50 Chinese police stations exist worldwide, with three secret "police stations" possibly located in the Greater Toronto Area. However, the report Chinese Communist Party’s Overseas Police Service Stations, doubled that number to nearly 100 alleged stations worldwide.
The RCMP confined their probe initially to the Greater Toronto Area last fall, having learned of activity "at locations where other legitimate services to the Chinese Canadian Community are being offered." Afterwards, they expanded their probe to Chinese community centres in Montreal after receiving 15 tips from human rights activists.
Alongside the Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal (SFCGM), the RCMP investigated the Centre Sino-Québec over suspicions they front for China to identify, monitor, intimidate or silence critics of Beijing.
In mid-March, the federal police service told reporters it also looked into reports of stations operating in Vancouver.
Action Free Hong Kong Montreal spokesperson Benjamin Fung said critics of China know the regime had an "underground" influence network in Canada.
"If this is a police station from China, they can use the funds to expand their network and their connections. This is also one way to monitor the many international Chinese students here," he told the Montreal Gazette.
A Public Safety memo confirmed Chinese proxies harassed university students "to stifle criticism, infiltrate foreign political parties, diaspora communities, universities and multinational corporations." The Chinese embassy has repeatedly denied those claims.
As of writing, the RCMP have not arrested or revoked the diplomatic status of any Chinese official regarding the probe, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
However, Senator Yuen Pau Woo, an avid defender of the “so-called Chinese police stations,” told the Senate on May 31 that the “Montréal police stations” were recreation centres “providing community services to Chinese Canadians.”
“No evidence has been produced to confirm there were Chinese police stations,” Senator Woo said May 2. Senator Marc Gold also dismissed reports of “Chinese so-called police stations.”
In October 2022, Rebel News attempted to seek clarity from government MPs and cabinet ministers on what concrete steps they would take to protect Canadians from foreign intimidation.
Rebel News asked Ministers Anita Anand, Marco Mendicino, Omar Alghabra, as well as members of Parliament Joanne Thompson, Mark Gerretsen, Ali Ehsassi, and Irek Kusmierczyk but received no response at the time.
Senator Leo Housakos called it an uneasy subject for friends of China, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. “They are uncomfortable because we are even asking the question — not because it is actually happening on our soil,” he told the Senate.
“The Trudeau government is doing absolutely nothing to combat foreign interference and defend Canadians of Chinese descent from intimidation,” claimed Housakos.
According to the SFCGM's financial records, Ottawa sent the charity $200,128 in taxpayer funds from 2020 through 2022 via the Canada Summer Jobs and New Horizons for Seniors programs.
Montreal's Centre Sino-Québec de la Rive-Sud received over $105,000 through six Canada Summer Jobs grants between 2016 and 2022. They also received about $53,000 from New Horizons for Seniors.
“Some members even in this Chamber might feel uncomfortable when we ask questions about illegal police stations in Canada and foreign interference and intimidation of Canadians of Chinese descent,” added Housakos.
Richard Fadden, retired director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in 2021 testimony at the Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations said subterfuge by Chinese agents is a fact, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. “The great difficulty we have in Canada is the general public has trouble understanding that we’re threatened,” said Fadden.
Conservative MP Michael Chong learned on May 1 China targeted his family as part of an intimidation campaign, receiving two anonymous threats from suspected Chinese agents on the evening of May 2.
Former Conservative leader Erin O'Toole also briefed the Commons on May 30 about a Chinese-led campaign that promoted false narratives about his policies while party leader.
Neither CSIS nor the federal government flagged the threats on either MP.
“They’re after us, if I can use the vernacular, from a whole variety of perspectives,” added Fadden. “And they’re after us in a negative sort of way.”
On June 1, the prime minister's national security and intelligence adviser, Jody Thomas, testified on the alleged stations while speaking before the standing committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC).
"You're the national security adviser. How many of these police stations are still operating in Canada? Can you tell us?" asked Conservative MP Blaine Calkins.
"There [are] continual investigations by the RCMP into the police stations," said Thomas. "We are aware of two in Montreal, and work is being done to ensure they cease operating."
"The government claimed that it shut down all these police stations. Now we know there are two in operation and that [Ottawa] has given taxpayer monies to fund them," Tory leader Pierre Poilievre said in the Commons June 1.
"The tools used by the RCMP to shut down the police stations, reduce their impact, reduce their credibility, is different in every situation, in every scenario," added Thomas. "There would be value in our ability to arrest people for them, and those investigations are underway by the RCMP."