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China and Russia's meddling 'a clear threat to the security of Canada': intelligence report

China and Russia are using their diaspora in Canada and undercover agents to try and sway public opinion, manipulate the media and influence government decision-making, according to a new redacted intelligence report.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), made up of both MPs and senators, says other states are also targeting Canada, but the list was redacted. 

Liberal MP David McGuinty, chair of the committee, will take questions around 11:30 a.m. ET. CBC.ca is carrying the press conference live.

"The committee believes that these states target Canada for a variety of reasons, but all seek to exploit the openness of our society and penetrate our fundamental institutions to meet their objectives," notes its annual report, tabled this morning.

"They target ethnocultural communities, seek to corrupt the political process, manipulate the media, and attempt to curate debate on post-secondary campuses. Each of these activities poses a significant risk to the rights and freedoms of Canadians and to the country's sovereignty: they are a clear threat to the security of Canada."

The People's Republic of China uses its growing wealth to mobilize its interference operations and can call on its citizens to contribute, notes the committee. 

"It is likely that citizens can be compelled to assist PRC state actors in interference efforts if and when those efforts fall under the broader definition of 'national intelligence work' and 'national intelligence efforts,'" the committee's report says. 

Most of the information about both countries' objectives are redacted in the report.

Unredacted versions of both reports were presented to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back in August, before the federal election campaign officially started. Declassified versions of the reports had to be tabled within 30 sitting days of the return of Parliament.

Unlike other parliamentary committees, the NSICOP meets in secret and reports directly to the prime minister on national security matters. Its members hold top secret security clearances and are bound to secrecy.

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