column was published in the
Sept. 1, 1999)
whistle on immigration scandal
By Leo Knight
the course of the past week, The Province has been
running a series on triads and the way they penetrated the
Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong.
story detailed how the computer system used by Immigration
Canada had been compromised and some 2,000 visas were taken from
inherent in the story was the courage of two men, a foreign
services officer and a Mountie who fought the system to bring
the serious situation to light.
McAdam is the former foreign services officer. A career civil
servant, he spent time in a variety of overseas postings,
including two stints in Hong Kong. It was during his last
assignment there that was highlighted by the events detailed in The
1992, McAdam was the immigration control officer at the Canadian
High Commission. It was part of his responsibility to monitor
the activities of the triads and known gangsters to ensure they
were not getting into Canada. He is a recognized expert in the
intelligence world on Asian organized crime.
morning he tried to access the CAIPS computer (Computer Assisted
Immigration Processing System) and found the triad leader's file
he was loading disappeared before his eyes. He tried another and
the same thing happened.
immediately summoned the RCMP liaison officer, Insp. Gary
Clement and demonstrated for him what was happening. Clement
reported the matter to Ottawa and two investigators were sent to
look into the matter.
was turned up of deleted files, unauthorized security clearances
to non-Canadian employees and fake immigration stamps, yet the
investigation was terminated without any apparent action being
continued to raise the alarm and at one time was told by an
External Affairs employee who had conducted a review of the
situation that he had been ordered to soft-pedal his report. In
effect, to cover up what had really occurred.
own analysis indicated that 788 highly sensitive files on
gangsters, high level organized crime figures, had been removed
from the computer system.
the information he provided and the calls for action, McAdam was
virtually ignored and brought back to Canada. Once here, he
filed a complaint with the RCMP and a new officer, Cpl. Robert
Read was assigned to investigate the allegations of corruption.
the interim, McAdam was ostracized by his former colleagues. He
was labelled a troublemaker and it was even suggested he wasn't
two years Read looked into the matter. He found what he called
"gaping holes" in the earlier investigations, leads
that weren't followed up and inaccuracies in the reports filed.
demanded a full-blown investigation.
got transferred to a desk job for his trouble and was told to
keep quiet and be a good little boy.
Robert Read is a good cop. He took the courageous step of filing
an internal complaint alleging a coverup and obstruction of
justice against his own superior officers.
when it appeared that nothing was ever going to be done about
the problem, did Read and McAdam go public.
Province stories have generated headlines around the
world, but barely a murmur here, apart from the National Post
running The Province stories.
seems in the Vancouver media that if the story can't be matched
then it will be ignored. Pretending it doesn't exist seems to be
story is hugely important.
seems absolutely ludicrous to me that The Vancouver Sun
and BCTV have not said a word about it. What about The Globe
& Mail, our purportedly national newspaper?
McAdam and Read are alleging is a coverup and corruption at the
highest levels of the national police force, External Affairs
and the federal government.
implications are stunning. Yet, The Sun et al are
still navel gazing trying to figure out who may have tipped John
Daly about the police raid on Glen Clark's house.
is clear is that elements of Asian organized crime have
penetrated and compromised our consulate in Hong Kong.
CAIPS computer system, which operates around the world, is not
secure. McAdam alleges that senior embassy officials have been
bribed. Also clear is that the RCMP, for whatever reason, are
not doing their job in getting to the bottom of this mess,
preferring, it seems, to shoot the messenger.
the case of the Upper-Capilano-area woman who came here shortly
after the alarm was raised by McAdam.
was a Hong Kong citizen employed by our consulate.
she had a high-level security clearance reserved only for senior
Canadian nationals working in foreign embassies.
the original investigation, bogus immigration stamps were found
in her desk, stamps that are used to authenticate visas and
other immigration documents.
flew the coop and the RCMP said they lost her trail in Taiwan.
she turns up in North Vancouver with landed immigrant status,
living in a $350,000 house paid for in cash and working in our
country as an immigration consultant. And she's doing this in
her own name. She's not in hiding or anything of the sort.
telling you someone has been bought and paid for and it is the
duty of the RCMP to find that someone and bring them to justice.
Mounties are conducting another investigation into the matter.
But they are also investigating Cpl. Read for allegedly taking
sensitive documents from the file. The so-called sensitive
documents are nothing more than newspaper clippings, I'm told.
Read and McAdam have done the right thing by blowing the
whistle. Throughout their careers they have worked diligently
within the system. But when the system itself appears corrupted,
they took the only avenue left open to them.
government types may call them a lot of things these days. I
call them heroes.