Photo: Mike Murchison
A note from David Walmsley, Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail “Revelations from the author of this opinion piece formed the backbone of our news stories that there is foreign interference in our political system at all levels of government and across Canada. The facts in those stories, which are just part of our in-depth and years-long reporting on the issue, are uncontroverted. However, the individual faces possible prosecution for revealing classified documents. This is a rare moment in which we have granted confidentiality to an Opinion writer. We recognize conferring confidentiality demands a great degree of trust on the part of the reader. We believe that publishing this piece strikes a balance between providing readers with more insight into our work, and our responsibility to protect the individual’s identity, in the tradition of shielding sources when it is in the public interest, as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 2010 ruling of Globe and Mail v. Canada.” --published in the Globe and Mail, March 17, 2023
On March 17, the Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper took rare action. It published an opinion piece written by the national security official who leaked information about Chinese interference in Canadian elections to that paper.
“When I joined the public service many years ago, I swore an oath. Not to party or to person, but to my country, to its democratic institutions and to my fellow Canadians,” the unnamed officer wrote.
“When I first became aware of the significance of the threat posed by outside interference to our democratic institutions, I worked – as have many unnamed and tireless colleagues – to equip our leaders with the knowledge and the tools needed to take action against it.
“Months passed, and then years. The threat grew in urgency; serious action remained unforthcoming. I endeavored, alone and with others, to raise concerns about this threat directly to those in a position to hold our top officials to account. Regrettably, those individuals were unable to do so,” the officer explained.
In describing the anguish of making the decision to share classified information the officer says, “I asked myself: ‘Can I do this while mitigating the risk to our country’s sources and methods? Will this mean the end of my career? Who will take care of my family if I go to prison? For me, the answer to these questions was found in weighing them against the public interest.’”
While taking pains to explain that this was not a partisan attack in any way – the officer notes they have voted Liberal in several elections – the writer states that “I hoped that by providing the public with information I believe to be in the interest of all Canadians, we as a country would begin a much deeper conversation about what it is that we expect of our government.”
All Canadians must come together, they write, “as a national community and ask ourselves how we can do better – this time, the next time, and all the times that follow.”
While willing to risk the punishment that may come as a result of sharing the classified information in violation of their oath, they write “I worry, however, that we may be running short on individuals willing and able to risk the consequences of standing by their principles. So, to my fellow Canadians: If you can, please work together to ensure that we are among the last public servants that will ever feel compelled to take that risk.”
Read the complete Globe and Mail article here.
“I blew the whistle on Chinese interference in Canada’s elections.— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) March 17, 2023
My decision to reveal secret and top-secret intelligence documents to The Globe and Mail did not come easily. Here is why I did so, all the same.”https://t.co/Wb0hA7NxjM pic.twitter.com/SVRcaDqKUh