Berlin-based watchdog group Transparency International (TI)’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, published on Tuesday, found a dismaying slide into corruption in Canada under leftist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
With an overall transparency score of 74 out of 100, Canada is still tied with Uruguay for the best rating in the Americas. The United States chugs into second place with a score of 69.
The countries TI considers “corrupt,” with a score below 50, are unsurprisingly found in Latin America, with Venezuela posting one of the worst scores in the world at 14.
According to TI, Canada’s score “stagnated” in 2022 after getting worse for several consecutive years. The report said the Trudeau administration was “rocked by allegations that Chinese officials intervened in Canadian politics,” a scandal that “once again highlighted the need to tackle opaque influence and the political integrity deficit within the country.”
In November 2022, the Global News reported the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned Trudeau that the Chinese Communist Party directly funded at least 11 candidates in the 2019 Canadian federal elections. CSIS further warned that Chinese agents had been placed in the offices of some sitting members of Parliament.
The political interference scandal erupted shortly after Canadian federal police began investigating reports that China was using illegal “police stations” on Canadian soil to harass and control Chinese expatriates. Similar Chinese surveillance and intimidation operations have been discovered around the world, including in the United States. Some of China’s illegal “police” activities in the U.S. were reportedly coordinated from its Toronto station.
Trudeau claimed he was outraged by these revelations and would take “significant measures to strengthen the integrity of our elections processes and our systems,” but counterintelligence experts said the Canadian government has known about China’s secret police stations for years – in fact, for years before Trudeau became prime minister – and done very little about them.
The troubling amount of influence China can exert over Trudeau himself has been a topic of concern since the early days of his administration. The Global and Mail discovered in 2016 that Trudeau’s foundation accepted sizable amounts of Chinese money, and Trudeau was cozy with a number of Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks.
Trudeau claimed he only wanted to develop closer ties with the Communist Party to bring Chinese investment to Canada and create jobs, an excuse that only exacerbated concerns about the amount of leverage Beijing was accumulating over his administration.
Peter Schweizer’s bestselling 2022 book Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win featured a chapter on China’s influence in Canadian politics, including a relationship between the Trudeau family and Beijing that dated back to the current prime minister’s father Pierre meeting with Chinese Communism founder Mao Zedong in the 1960s.
“Obviously, my family has historical ties with China,” Justin Trudeau said when criticized for supporting the 2012 purchase of a Canadian energy firm by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation.
Schweizer also noted the embarrassment of Canada becoming wholly dependent upon the kindness of China for protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, in part because Trudeau gave much of Canada’s inventory away to China during the early days of the Wuhan outbreak.
TI’s report on Tuesday pointed to some other examples of corruption in Canada that did not directly involve China, such as the embarrassing discovery of extensive money laundering in the British Columbia real estate industry over the past few years – and, as TI pointed out, the fact that even well-meaning real estate professionals “rarely report suspicions of money laundering to the authorities, because many cannot even recognize it in the first place.”