column was published in the North
Shore News on
Sept. 6, 2000)
By Leo Knight
since the federal government's efforts to shut down the joint
CSIS/RCMP Project Sidewinder became public last fall, there have
been a great many more questions than answers.
you'll recall, was an investigation into the influence exerted
on Canadian politicians and policy by elements of Asian
organized crime and the communist government of China. The
original report stated that China was the single biggest
national security risk facing this country.
what could only be called political interference by the Prime
Minister's office, the investigation was prematurely closed and
the report sanitized by CSIS under the new code name,
"Echo." The shutting down of the investigation
infuriated investigators with both CSIS and the RCMP. They
argued there was more than sufficient evidence to warrant an
expanded probe. But that was not to be.
the efforts of Province news editor Fabian Dawson and Globe
and Mail reporter Andrew Mitrovica, and the six or so pieces
appearing in this space, the issue began to gather a little
steam. This is, and I don't say this lightly, the biggest
scandal this country has ever seen.
after hollow denials by CSIS Director, Ward Elcock, the civilian
watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee announced
they were going to look into the matter. It appeared as though
something might just crack which could shed some light into the
dark corridors of the PMO.
we learned last week this is now likely to be another snow job
as well. SIRC announced their report would be delayed until the
end of the year.
is that, you might ask? After all, they have had the best part
of a year since Dawson broke the story. According to
investigators close to the case, it has everything to do with
the upcoming trade mission by Prime Minister Jean Chretien to
not. After all, the SIRC are independent of government by
definition. Why, that would mean that, yet again, Chretien's
office dictated to an independent agency looking into the
influence gangsters and communists are having on our government.
so, said SIRC's executive director Susan Pollak in an interview
with Mitrovica last week. "We have a lot on our plate and
we are a small agency," Pollak was quoted as saying in the Globe.
"But I wouldn't want to give you a date (of the report's
release) because sometimes things happen that create
What the hell is that? Is that how she describes a discreet call
from the PMO?
this goes on, RCMP Sergeant Luc Lemaire is busy calling
reporters who have written on the subject. He is trying to build
a case against suspended Mountie Corporal Robert Read, who blew
the whistle on the political interference involved in covering
up the penetration of our embassy in Hong Kong by elements of
Asian organized crime. Lemaire is doing the government's dirty
work by trying to shoot the messenger.
it is certainly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff
in all of this. Former Foreign Services officer, Brian McAdam,
who first discovered and reported the criminal penetration, says
this is all about the corruption of our politicians who have
grown fat on the massive political contributions made by
corporations such as those controlled by two of the major
subjects of the Sidewinder probe, Stanley Ho and Li Ka Shing.
try and understand why the prime minister might possibly be
interested in keeping a lid on the Sidewinder ramifications.
son-in-law is Andre Desmarais. He runs a huge company called
Power Corp. Conveniently, Desmarais does a lot of business in
China and actually holds a seat of the board of CITIC, described
as the investment arm of the Chinese military, according to
else is on the board? Why it's Li himself. And wait a minute,
didn't Li own a significant portion of Gordon Securities, the
same company Chretien worked for and made his fortune with, when
he took a sabbatical from politics prior to taking the
leadership of the federal Liberal party?
that mean that just possibly, Chretien's name came up in the
trade mission to China will be the sixth such trip he has made
in the seven years since he became prime minister in 1993. He
hasn't been in British Columbia on official visits that many
let it be said that it is possible that all of this is merely
coincidence and Chretien is truly doing what he thinks is best
for the country. But, in the face of the accusations made by
Read, McAdam and senior investigators who actually worked on the
Sidewinder project, I would suggest the air surrounding this
whole thing is quite foul indeed and needs to be cleared.
SIRC report must be released immediately and if it necessitates
the cancellation of Chretien's trade mission to China, well, so
Nothing less than the sovereignty of our country and the integrity of this government depends on it. Surely, those are important enough reasons to want to get at the truth. Even for the federal Liberals. But then again, it appears that SIRC may have already been compromised.