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The rise of China has added special urgency to the question of foreign influence and foreign interference. While diaspora politics plays a role in this, China’s reach and influence now extends far beyond the Chinese diaspora community.

For the purposes of this paper, a foreign agent is a Canadian who lobbies or communicates on behalf of a foreign principal to influence Canadian government policy or public opinion in Canada. While acting as a foreign agent overlaps in many important ways with what we have traditionally defined as lobbying, it can include activities, such as public political advocacy on behalf of a foreign principal, that aren’t adequately covered under the definition of lobbying set out in the Federal Accountability Act of 2006.

Key recommendations:

  • Establishing a registry of foreign agents to ensure transparency and accountability for former high-office holders engaged in any activity for which they are paid by foreign principals;
  • Prohibiting appointees to a federal board, agency, foundation or council in Canada from serving as a foreign agent for the duration of his/her appointment;
  • Making those engaged as foreign agents ineligible for Privy Council membership.
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