OTTAWA — Canada’s spy chief warned Tuesday that state-sponsored espionage against his country has reached “levels equal to, or greater than those witnessed during the Cold War.”
Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said in a report presented to parliament on Monday that foreign governments “continue to covertly gather political, economic and military information” in Canada through diplomatic missions, various organizations and by recruiting agents or informants.
A number of state-owned enterprises and private firms with close ties to foreign government or intelligence services have also pursued “opaque agendas” through investments in Canada.
“Canadian interests have been damaged by espionage activities through the loss of assets and leading-edge technology, leakage of confidential government information or applications, and the coercion and manipulation of ethno-cultural communities,” the report said.
Dubious foreign corporate acquisitions, it said, also “pose potential risks” related to critical infrastructure, control over strategic sectors and the illegal transfer of technology.
The report goes on to explain that Canada’s “open society with strong international relationships and advanced industries such as telecommunications and mining — make it attractive to foreign intelligence agencies.”
Its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other multilateral and bilateral defence pacts, and close ties to the United States also make the country an attractive target for espionage, it said.
In the post-Cold War world, state actors are compelled to seek ways of remaining competitive both strategically and economically, the report said.
“As a world leader in communications, biotechnology, energy extraction technologies, aerospace and other areas, Canada remains an attractive target for economic espionage,” it said.