IF HE DID NAME THEM HE’D BE LABELLED A RACIST..
Alberta premier takes aim at ‘irresponsible’ CSIS boss
By FRANK LANDRY, Legislature Bureau
Last Updated: July 7, 2010 9:32am
- Richard Fadden, the head of CSIS (left) and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. (QMI Agency)
Premier Ed Stelmach is taking the head of Canada’s spy agency to task.
Stelmach said it’s irresponsible of Richard Fadden to accuse politicians of being under the influence of foreign governments without providing proof or naming names.
“If he has evidence, just name them,” Stelmach said Tuesday. “It’s quite irresponsible to throw this out there.”
Fadden, the head of CSIS, recently said in a TV interview his agency was concerned about Canadian politicians being under the sway of foreign governments.
“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,” said Fadden.
“There are several municipal politicians in British Columbia and in at least two provinces there are ministers of the Crown who we think are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”
Stelmach questioned the validity of Fadden’s concerns.
The premier noted in Edmonton, for example, the mayor has been lobbying the international community to support the city’s bid for Expo 2017.
“I’m sure travelling to China, to Shanghai, doesn’t mean that you’re all of a sudden in the pocket of some government members.”
Fadden did not suggest any municipal politicians in Alberta were under the influence of foreign powers.
However, he also did not clarify which two provinces may have cabinet ministers with competing allegiances.
“It’s unfortunate those statements are made,” Stelmach said. “It raises doubt, I guess, but with no further background information.”
Wildrose Alliance MLA Rob Anderson said he agrees with Stelmach, calling on Fadden to be more specific.
“He needs to either shut his mouth or he needs to make a specific allegation,” said Anderson, referring to the CSIS boss.
He said the vague allegations created “a cloud of suspicion around cabinet ministers from ethnic communities. “And that’s ridiculous. It’s not fair.”
But Liberal Leader David Swann defended Fadden’s comments, saying he worries about the potential of foreign influence on the oilsands. Swann said he’s concerned one of the two provinces mentioned could be Alberta.
“I certainly think it’s appropriate for Mr. Fadden to express concerns where he sees them,” Swann said.
“We do not want to hide our head in the sand like this government seems to want to, about concerns such as this.”
Stelmach said he has not been in contact with CSIS on the matter.
“If there’s an issue, then I would expect, if you’re head of the agency, that you would be approaching those governments if there’s an issue,” he said.
Fadden did not name any countries that may be involved, but did say several nations are actively grooming Canadian politicians.
He also acknowledged that reports of Chinese espionage are generally accurate.
WITH FILES FROM QMI AGENCY