Eby urges Trudeau to provide foreign interference information to protect province

By The Canadian Press, Michael Williams and Charles Brockman

Premier David Eby says British Columbia urgently needs information from Canada’s spy agency to help combat alleged foreign interference at the provincial level.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Eby says B.C. does not have the information it needs to intercept and address allegations of foreign interference that may be occurring in the province.

The premier says the sharing of information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is long overdue, and he urges Trudeau to quickly bring into force CSIS Act amendments that were introduced to Parliament last month.

Public Safety Canada says the amendments are intended to allow CSIS to make “broader disclosure” of information beyond the federal government.

Eby’s letter says there are credible reasons to suspect state-level interference with B.C. residents who have personal connections or relatives in China, Iran, Ukraine, India and Russia.

It says his government also has “grave concerns” about the activities of transnational organized crime, while expert advice on a recent computer security incident targeting provincial government email gives it reason to suspect state-level actors.

Eby’s letter also asks the prime minister to provide B.C. with information before the passage of the CSIS bill that could help protect the people of the province and its democratic institutions from foreign interference.

Thousands of people gathered together Sunday and Monday at the site where a Surrey Sikh leader was gunned down to mark the anniversary of his death last year. They are expected to do so again on Tuesday.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a high-profile pro-Khalistan activist, was shot and killed in broad daylight outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara on June 18, 2023.

Many paid their respects to Nijjar at the gurdwara, where he was the president and a vocal advocate for an independent Sikh state in India.

Months after his death, Trudeau said there was evidence potentially linking the Indian government to the killing, which it has continually denied. Since that claim, Eby says the federal government hasn’t done enough to inform B.C.

Speaking about the anniversary Monday, Eby said, “It’s a very straightforward ask; tell us the best information you have about what’s happening in British Columbia at the political level, at the government level, so that we can take action here in British Columbia.”

He says that so far, the federal government is moving in the right direction, but too slowly. 

“I need the federal government to bring the changes around sharing information with the province of B.C. into effect immediately, so that we can get that briefing from CSIS about the risks,” said Eby.

“You passed a law. Bring that section into force, so we can get our briefings and we can take action.”

Last month, four Indian nationals who were living in Canada were charged in connection with Nijjar’s death.

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