Press Conference 2023-08-18

Coalition of human rights and pro-democracy groups fights against false narrative: Calls for urgent implementation of a foreign-agent registry

Date: Friday August 18, 2023
Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am (Toronto time)

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Meeting number: 263 055 54194
App Password: hyW6BKwxm42

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Toronto 647-484-1598
Vancouver 604-449-3026
Calgary 403-776-2521
Ottawa 613-714-9906

Meeting number: 263 055 54194
Phone Password: 4996 2599

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OPSEU Membership Centre
31 Wellesley Street East, Toronto
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Media Advisory

Jenny Kwan, MP (Vancouver East) joined a coalition of human rights and pro-democracy organizations from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto today in a media conference to announce the launch of a House of Commons petition campaign, urging the Parliament to move expeditiously with the passage of the Foreign Influence and Transparency Registry (FITR) in the coming Fall Session of the House.

“As an ‘evergreen’ target of foreign interference, it is critical that every effort is made to uncover the extent to which foreign interference has impacted Canada’s political processes and electoral system,” said Jenny Kwan, the petition’s sponsor. “The threat of foreign interference is real and safeguarding the Charter rights of every Canadian is paramount.”

The petition urges the government to act swiftly to put in place an independent public inquiry and to implement effective measures, including the creation of a foreign interference registry, to prevent and deter such actions before the next election.

“It’s about protecting Canadian sovereignty and safeguarding democracy,” Mabel Tung, chair of Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement (VSSDM), said. “For too long we have seen China’s undue influence seeping into our community and it’s time to put a stop to that.”

Critics of the FITR often conflate the Registry to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923. That racist Act from a hundred years ago was a blanket discriminatory tool used against all Chinese to bar them from entering Canada. In contrast, the foreign-agent registry is for those, whether Canadian or not, who lobby on behalf of foreign governments.

Chinese consulate officials have often played on anti-Asian sentiment and racism during the pandemic to openly assure Chinese Canadians that their “motherland” will take care of them.

“It’s disappointing to see high-profile members of our community — senators Victor Oh and Yuen Pau Woo among them — echoing that same line straight out of the Chinese Communist Party playbook,” said Cheuk Kwan, co-chair of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China (TADC).

Media Contact

Cheuk Kwan, Toronto Association for Democracy in China

Mable Tung, Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement