Friday, March 03, 2023

It's not news that China interferes in the poltics of Western democracies

It's kind of hard to get too excited about all the outrage being expressed - mainly by the opposition parties, but also by the mainstream press - about China's attempts to subvert Canadian democracy, and particularly the last two elections.

The flames have been especially fanned by the Globe and Mail, Canada's most respected newspaper, which cites their viewing of some unspecified and uncheckable "top secret intelligence documents" suggesting (again, in the Globe's opinion) that China wanted to make sure the Conservatives did not win the elections (as they are perceived by China as being more strongly anti-China), and that they wanted to restrict the Liberal win to a weak minority. That is indeed what happened, but to suggest that it happened that way because of China's all-encompassing dastardly plan is a huge and improbable stretch.

China's nefarious doings are being portrayed by some as an existential threat to the country and its way of life. In fact, it has long been known that China (and Russia and Iran) has been trying to mess with democratic elections in Canada and elsewhere for many years. It's what countries like that do. The best explanation I have heard is that totalitarian regimes like to show their people that democracies don't work, thus proving that their own system is superior. Well, maybe. It's as good an explanation as any.

The point is that they are not succeeding, whatever various Conservative MPs might insinuate. An independent review has concluded, pretty unequivocally, that the elections' integrity was not compromised.

So, the system works, the checks and balances are doing their job, life as we know it goes on. The sky is probably not going to fall today or tomorrow. Yes, we need to be ever-vigilant against constant Chinese political interference, but I'm not convinced that we need yet another expensive public inquiry into this matter - the Conservatives seem to call for a public inquiry into any little thing they don't like these days. And we just had an independent review, didn't we? If anything, we may need a public inquiry into how and why those "top secret documents" were leaked in the first place, and what the Globe and Mail stands to gain from their dogged pursuit of it.

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