Judge overruled in case of ‘harm’ to Canada security

Order used for first time in Canadian history

Barry Ellsworth   | 21.11.2019
Judge overruled in case of ‘harm’ to Canada  security

TRENTON, Canada 

The Canadian government overruled a federal judge and blocked the release of information on an intelligence surveillance operation on the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, it was reported Thursday.

It is the first time in Canadian history that the order, known as a secrecy certificate, has been issued. The surveillance was conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“This certificate, issued personally by me, prohibits the disclosure of some of the information disclosed by a designated judge of the federal court,” read the document signed by Attorney General David Lametti.

The certificate concerns a criminal case dating to 2013 and involving Qing ‘Quentin’ Huang, who was an employee of a company connected to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. The latter firm is associated with the renewal of Canada’s fleet of combat vessels such as science research and patrol ships.

Qing, who maintains his innocence and remains in Canada free on bail, was charged under the Security of Information Act that deals with leaking secrets to a foreign country. The intelligence service tapped his conversations with the Chinese embassy.

“The certificate is issued in connection with a criminal proceeding for the purpose of protecting information obtained in a confidence from, or in relation to, a foreign entity or for the purpose of protecting national security or national defence,” the document reads. If disclosed, the information “would harm Canada’s national security.”

Former government security lawyer Leah West said the order proves the information is highly sensitive and could protect the names of sources.

“The fact that this has never been done shows just how important it is to protect this information,” she said.

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