Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says Chinese community members in Vancouver have told him of “intimidation, harassment and abuse” linked to foreign governments or their proxies, confirming the need for a foreign agent registry.
Mendicino says he met Wednesday with a cross-section of the local community including people with Chinese heritage or cultural links.
The minister did not disclose exactly who was invited to the meeting, only that it included community advocates, business leaders and representatives.
Mendicino says some told him they feared retribution if they spoke out about foreign interference, which he says “reinforces the need” for a registry of agents.
The federal government announced in March that it wants to hear from Canadians on creating a foreign influence transparency registry to help prevent meddling in Canada’s affairs.
The issue has been under debate amid media reports citing unnamed security sources and classified documents that warned China had tried to interfere in the last two federal elections, as well as the municipal election in Vancouver.