Prime Time Crime

'This is a scandal that is enormous in scope'

Tom Blackwell

National Post

Friday, September 19, 2003


After years of trying in vain to raise the alarm about alleged corruption involving Hong Kong mobsters and Canada, Brian McAdam found a little bit of vindication this week.


An RCMP review committee's report was the first official suggestion that possible wrongdoing around Canada's Hong Kong high commission has been largely overlooked.


Mr. McAdam was the high commission's immigration control officer from 1989 to 1993, responsible for identifying criminals trying to emigrate to Canada. He wrote numerous reports on criminals from the region and their possible ties to Canada, a crusade that he says led to ostracization and harassment by his superiors, death threats from triad members and clinical depression that cut short his career.


He said yesterday he was thrilled by the new report, but still feels there is much more that needs to be revealed, and that would ultimately prove him right.


"I have to confess that I'm still hoping to vindicate myself completely for my work," Mr. McAdam said yesterday.


"This is a scandal that is enormous in scope.... We can't have a country where politicians are compromised. The world is replete with examples of countries that are corrupt and have done nothing about it and those countries are destroyed eventually."


He said he would like a royal commission to get to the bottom of Chinese organized crime's influence on business and politics in Canada.


The committee that oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and others have looked into some of his allegations and concluded they were mostly unfounded.


The report by the RCMP external review committee was the result of the case of Corporal Robert Read, a force member who investigated allegations that high commission employees had received bribes from wealthy Hong Kong residents and that the triad had infiltrated an immigration computer system.


He has alleged his findings were suppressed by superior officers and the investigation cut short. When he voiced his concerns to media outlets the force took steps that led to his dismissal last year.


He appealed to the committee, an arm's-length body that reports to the Solicitor-General. Its report recommended he be reinstated, and concluded the RCMP had mishandled the investigation of the high commission affair.


Mr. McAdam said he uncovered evidence of bribery, of triad members having tampered with the immigration computer system to remove their names from watch lists and connections between organized crime figures and Canadian politicians.


But he maintains his reports were given short shrift by his superiors, while he began receiving death threats from the criminals themselves.


He said the stress of what he considered to be systemic opposition to his work led to depression that put him on sick leave for two years.


Finally, in 1995, Mr. McAdam retired from the government after 30 years of service.


But even while on sick leave and after retiring, he continued working with the RCMP and CSIS on Project Sidewinder, a joint investigation of Chinese crime involvement in Canada.


He said the so-called Chinagate affair in the United States, involving funding of former president Bill Clinton's campaign by business people tied to the Chinese government, involved many of the same figures the Canadians were investigating and unearthed similar alleged wrongdoing.


But the Sidewinder report was shelved by authorities here, he charged.


Since then, he said he has spent his days crusading to have his concerns and allegations properly investigated, and fought to have the federal government pass whistle-blower legislation to protect people such as him and Cpl. Read.


But for his wife and three children, he said, the ordeal has had a "profound" effect.


Copyright  2003 National Post



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