Friday, July 23, 2021
ADVT 
National

Blair says Beijing visa applications secure

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 26 Feb, 2021 09:47 PM
  • Blair says Beijing visa applications secure

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he assumes security authorities signed off on an arrangement to allow a company owned by a Chinese police force to run Canada's visa application centre in Beijing.

Blair says he can only make assumptions because the arrangement was put in place in 2008, under the previous Conservative government.

Still, he says he's been assured by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that the personal information provided by visa applicants is secure.

He says the information is handled according to Canada's privacy laws, that no application or biometrically collected data is stored at the centre and that all databases containing personal information are located in Canada.

Opposition MPs questioned Blair about the possibility that visa applicants' personal information could be relayed to the Chinese government and cause negative repercussions, particularly for dissidents trying to flee the country's repressive Communist regime.

Bloc Quebecois MP Stephane Bergeron and New Democrat MP Jack Harris pressed Blair to explain which of Canada's national security agencies signed off on the subcontract to the Chinese police.

"I have some difficulty frankly answering your question Mr. Harris about the origins of this contract," Blair told the special committee on Canada-China relations Thursday.

"It was signed in 2008. So it's been in place for 12 years now and so its origin and who actually authorized this contract predates me or my government and frankly my knowledge."

Blair said there are "normal procurement processes" in place for contracting out services and he assumes they were followed in this case.

"I want to make sure that it's clear. I'm only able to make an assumption that those processes were in fact followed because it did take place 12 years ago."

"That's not much comfort, I have to say," Harris responded.

Blair acknowledged that IRCC is not a security agency but he said it does have an information technology specialist department that has provided assurances that the visa information is secure.

He said inspections and audits are regularly conducted to ensure there is no privacy breach of sensitive information and there has been no evidence of a problem.

 

MORE National ARTICLES

West Vancouver man fined, jailed for tax evasion

West Vancouver man fined, jailed for tax evasion

Court records show Michael Sholz was sentenced Wednesday in provincial court in Vancouver.

West Vancouver man fined, jailed for tax evasion

B.C. Liberal leader to be chosen next year

B.C. Liberal leader to be chosen next year

The party says the winner of its leadership race will be announced on Feb. 5, 2022, after three days of voting by party members.

B.C. Liberal leader to be chosen next year

Secretary of state chats up Trudeau, Garneau

Secretary of state chats up Trudeau, Garneau

Antony Blinken is visiting virtually with Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as part of the Biden administration's post-Trump fence-mending campaign.

Secretary of state chats up Trudeau, Garneau

B.C. police face investigation over video footage

B.C. police face investigation over video footage

Const. Tania Visintin says the officers responded to calls about a deceased individual at Stanley Park's Third Beach, and waited for the coroner to arrive.

B.C. police face investigation over video footage

BC Premier gives green light to Site C with a price tag of $16B

BC Premier gives green light to Site C with a price tag of $16B

The provincial government says the skyrocketing expenses are due to construction setbacks, geotechnical issues, COVID-19 and other cost and schedule pressures.

BC Premier gives green light to Site C with a price tag of $16B

Multiple charges laid in $1.8M fraud investigation of Surrey boat dealer

Multiple charges laid in $1.8M fraud investigation of Surrey boat dealer

The investigation included a search warrant executed at the business on August 8, 2019, that resulted in the seizure of multiple boats and documents.

Multiple charges laid in $1.8M fraud investigation of Surrey boat dealer

PrevNext