Minister Bill Blair Exposes CSIS Oversight: China's Threat Ignored!
In a surprising revelation, Canada's Emergency Preparedness Minister, Bill Blair, stated that he was not briefed by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) on threats made by the Chinese regime to Members of Parliament (MPs) in 2021. Speaking before the House of Commons committee on procedure and House affairs on June 1, Blair disclosed that CSIS Director David Vigneault had determined that the information was not necessary for the minister to know.
The ongoing investigation by the committee is focused on the targeting of MPs, including Conservative Michael Chong, by the Chinese regime. Blair, who held the entire Public Safety portfolio at the time, insisted that he was unaware of the issue until it was reported by The Globe and Mail on May 1, based on a leaked CSIS assessment.
This lack of briefing extended to other high-ranking officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When Trudeau first commented on the issue on May 3, he also blamed CSIS for not raising the matter. According to Trudeau, CSIS had determined that the threats were not significant enough to warrant attention at a higher level.
However, Conservative MP Michael Chong contradicted Trudeau's statement in the House of Commons the following day. Chong claimed that Trudeau's National Security and Intelligence Advisor, Jody Thomas, had informed him that her office had indeed received the CSIS assessment at the time.
During Blair's testimony on June 1, Jody Thomas, the National Security and Intelligence Advisor, appeared before the committee and confirmed that the CSIS assessment had been sent not only to her office but also to the deputy ministers of Public Safety, Foreign Affairs, and National Defence.
The revelations have raised questions about the handling of critical intelligence and the communication between CSIS and government officials. The recently published report by Special Rapporteur David Johnston on May 23 shed further light on the matter. The report indicated that CSIS had sent an "issues management" note to Blair's office in May 2021, alerting them to intelligence suggesting that the People's Republic of China (PRC) intended to target Mr. Chong, another MP, and their families in China.
The discrepancy between what was known by CSIS and what was communicated to government officials has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of Canada's intelligence sharing and decision-making processes. It has also raised concerns about the security and safety of Canadian MPs and their families.
As the investigation continues, the committee will seek further clarification on the chain of communication and the reasons behind CSIS's decision not to brief Minister Blair and other key officials on the threats posed by the Chinese regime. The findings of the committee's inquiry are eagerly awaited, as they will play a crucial role in addressing any potential gaps in Canada's intelligence sharing and ensuring the safety and security of elected representatives.