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Dec. 13, 2022
TORONTO — B’nai Brith Canada is advocating for the creation of a foreign-agents registry to combat external interference in our domestic affairs.
“The idea of such a registry is not novel,” Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, told a Queen’s Park rally composed mostly of Chinese dissidents associated with the Falun Gong movement last week.
“In August of 2021, a Federal Government report on innovative means for Canadian authorities to defend against foreign interference acknowledged a registry as a tool that could aid in such efforts.”
Yet, no registry exists in Canada, Mostyn said.
“Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need for a registry,” Mostyn continued. “We are aware of subversive foreign elements operating with the goal of influencing Canadian policy or intimidating Canadians. A registry would limit the actions that could be taken by agents of other nations while in Canada and would provide a mechanism through which to monitor their actions and the consequent impact upon Canadians.”
Mostyn told the crowd it is not only China that has been linked to “exerting clandestine influence extraterritorially.” Last month, Canadian intelligence officials divulged their investigation of threats to Canada’s national security and to Canadian residents by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s security force. And in recent years, Russian actors have been accused of meddling in Canadian elections (and admitted to attempting to influence U.S. elections).
Mostyn said B’nai Brith looks forward to working in collaboration with many diverse community groups who support such a registry. Australia and the United States already use their own registries to combat foreign interference.
“It is the belief of B’nai Brith that Canada is trailing other nations when it comes to deploying strategies to suppress unwelcome foreign influences that threaten our democracy,” he said. “It is time for our political leaders to take the essential steps needed to ensure necessary measures to safeguard” Canada’s stability.
“There is a danger that is not only palpable but has the capacity to impact all Canadians,” Mostyn added. “As a result, we must unite to ensure that the very fabric of our society is not compromised by the stains of foreign interference.
Recently, Mostyn recounted, Elizabeth May, a Member of Parliament and the co-leader of the Green Party of Canada, admitted that, on matters relating to Israel and the Palestinians, she takes her “marching orders” from the Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation to Canada, Mona Abuamara.
“I am not aware,” Mostyn said, “of any other circumstance where an elected Canadian official has admitted to taking instructions from a foreign entity.”