October 7, 2012
Border officials accused of drunken gabfest with Chinese delegation
By Tom Godfrey, QMI Agency
TORONTO - A Chinese delegation who got some top border officials so drunk that one puked in a government car was seeking information to help their Communist country breach our national security programs, police suspect.
Five senior members of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are under investigation following a complaint they got sloshed with officials of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Ottawa and their Ministry of Public Security agents.
Verbal reports have been taken from the five by members of a CBSA Professional Standards Division, officials said. A probe has also been launched by the Public Sector Office of the Integrity Commissioner.
CBSA staffers are concerned that security secrets may have been given to the Chinese, one of whom was the equivalent of a Director-General in Canada. The group would require approval from Bejiing to meet with the CBSA, officials said.
The Aug. 3 party was held at the Bashu Sichuan Chinese Restaurant and was attended by about 15 people. It was to discuss a greater collaboration on deportation cases involving Chinese citizens living in Canada who are sought in Beijing for economic and other crimes.
Staffers at the restaurant told QMI Agency on Saturday they couldn't remember the tipsy party that took place more than two months ago.
The complaint alleged some CBSA officials drank so much alcohol that one got sick in a government vehicle.
The three men and two women are back on the job at the Enforcement Centre in Toronto, and no disciplinary action has been taken against them, CBSA staff said.
Some Canadian intelligence officers suspect the Chinese, to avoid getting drunk, may have been dumping their alcohol in plants or containers while their Canadian counterparts downed theirs.
"The Chinese usually ply their subjects with alcohol to try and obtain information from them," a source said. "It is the oldest trick in the intelligence handbook."
The drinkfest has angered many front-line workers who claim they would have been fired or suspended for not behaving in a professional manner.
"These people have to be held accountable for their behaviour," said Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union. "It is a double standard the way managers are treated as compared to workers."
Fortin said members complain of a "double-standard" that exists in which managers are spared disciplinary action for alleged wrongdoing.
"These meetings are usually held in an embassy or somewhere formal," he said. "We hope they will undergo the same scrutiny that our members would."
Police said Chinese spies are also openly approaching workers for information at some projects in the Alberta oilsands.
Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told a House of Commons committee in 2010 that foreign influence "is more common here and elsewhere than many think."
Fadden said CSIS has ongoing investigations into politicians at the provincial and municipal level who are agents of influence for foreign governments in Canada.
And Tory MP Bob Dechter was forced to undergo a new Cabinet security test after admitting to sending flirtatious e-mails in 2010 to Shi Rong, a journalist working for China's state-run news agency, Xinhua.