18 May, 2017
Given recent developments in the United States and the new standards expected of applicants for public office, I feel compelled to clear the air lest I dare to submit my name to the voters as a potential school board trustee or Ward Councillor.
The public has a right to know about potential foreign involvement, before they find that the Kremlin now has a hand in selecting Grade 3 reading lists, or that Beijing is determining changes to our trash-pick up dates.
In the interests of total disclosure, in the last 32 years, I have met with the following:
Czech and Polish attaches during 1985-89, who used to visit my office (then the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies) almost monthly to acquire our latest published materials for Warsaw Pact spymasters back home.
I had lunch with staff from the Japanese consulate in Toronto in 1986 for an independent consultation about potential terrorism threats to their personnel… there was a lot of alcohol during the meal and my memories are hazy.
A delegation of two Chinese People’s Liberation Army generals, their translator and a minder from their embassy; I spent a month with them in 1988 going across Canada and ushered them into several sensitive sites and conveyed them to meetings with sundry officials.
Once in the Mackenzie Institute in the 1990s, I had meetings with Egyptian, French, German and Mexican diplomats concerning terrorism and counter-terrorism in Canada…. I may have inadvertently let go of a secret or two. There was also an interview with a Russian academic from the Academy of Science which I tried to relate to the RCMP, honest! I also tried to interview some Greek government officials in Athens but they didn’t keep regular office hours…. at all.
I must confess to accepting an invitation from the United States in 1997 to visit on a US Congressional program (administered by the Fulbright people), and spent a month visiting a number of US institutions and defence-related sites. Again, in 2002, US diplomats facilitated my visits to a number of key sites in Washington in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Between 2002 and 2011, there were several meetings with the Israelis, an appearance at Ditchley House in the UK and a foray to Prague. Most telling was an attempt to bribe me a decade ago by an Iranian agent. I confess I took the meeting, if only to find out what the hell he wanted, but my invitation to CSIS to sit in on the meeting was turned down as they already a rather thick file on the fellow.
To the best of my recollection, this concludes my list of contacts with agents of foreign powers. A more comprehensive list that includes dissidents, exiles, refugees, police, and soldiers can be assembled if the public demands it.
Gosh, this has been a most cathartic exercise. Now if I could only explain everything I’ve ever written in any chatroom, discussion form or on social media in the last 22 years.
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