RCMP investigating allegations that former Canadian fighter pilots are training Chinese military airmen
The RCMP has confirmed that it is investigating allegations that former Canadian military pilots participated in the training of Chinese military pilots.
In an emailed statement Nov. 8, the RCMP said it was reviewing reports from former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots who allegedly trained Chinese military pilots at a South African flight school.
“The RCMP is aware of the report that ex-RCAF pilots participated in People’s Liberation Army Air Force pilot training and is working with our partners to determine what measures to investigation, if any, may be undertaken,” said Cpl. Kim Chamberland, spokesperson for RCMP National Headquarters in Ottawa.
“While for operational reasons we cannot discuss this at length, it is within the mandate of the RCMP to investigate this activity if there is criminal or illegal activity occurring in Canada that is found to be supported by a foreign state,” she said, adding, “Various methods and techniques are in place to address interference by foreign actors within the mandate of the RCMP.
The confirmation came after The Epoch Times requested clarification from the federal Department of National Defense (DND) on Nov. 7, to which the department responded the same day the RCMP would conduct the investigation.
DND had said in an earlier statement on Oct. 27 that it would investigate the allegations. “We are aware of these reports and are investigating this further with federal partners,” the department said.
During a hearing before the House National Defense Committee on November 3, Brigadier-General Denis Boucher, Director of General Defense Security at DND, told MPs that the investigation fell outside the purview of his department and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
“When members retire from the Canadian Armed Forces, they become civilians, like any other Canadian civilian, and they fall under the jurisdiction of these federal partners,” said Boucher, adding that former members are still bound by the provisions of Information Security. Law.
“I don’t necessarily speak with the federal partners personally because of my role, but the federal partners we are in contact with would be the Department of Justice, and they would have to look at the investigation, presumably from the perspective of the RCMP. . ”
The BBC reported on October 18 that around 30 former British military pilots had been recruited by the Oudtshoorn-based flying school. Test Flight Academy of South Africa (TFASA) train the Chinese Air Force PLA with lucrative salaries of around 240,000 pounds (CA$370,000) a year.
The report adds that the wanted pilots were asked to provide vital and sensitive information, such as the operation of Western planes and pilots, in exchange for salaries.
Another article published by the Daily Mail on October 17 said the media had been informed that “fast jet pilots from Australia and Canada have also been lured to China under huge contracts”.
Several other outlets reported that TFASA acted as a middleman for the PLA in recruiting pilots from the UK, Australia and other Western countries.
On October 18, the British Ministry of Defense issued a series of alerts on Twitter saying the department will engage with the pilots involved to “ensure they are fully aware of the risk of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act”.
DND’s October 27 statement also said that any behavior by its members that harms the Canadian national interest will be dealt with appropriately.
“The Information Security Act applies to current and former members, and failure to comply with the law could result in serious consequences,” the ministry said.
“As an institution that upholds democratic principles and the rule of law, we trust current and former members of the CAF and expect them to adhere to the values of the institution.”
The Globe and Mail reported on November 3 that it had received a statement from TFASA, confirming that the academy employs former RCAF pilots.
“Most of the Canadian guys would be ex-RCAF, but some of them could be privately trained or civilian pilots,” the company said.
In his Nov. 3 testimony, Boucher said the military can’t do much about it.
“We are aware of the allegations and obviously this matter is of great concern to us,” Boucher told committee members.
“But we know these are post-employment activities,” he said. “They are not under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The brigadier general added that DND and the CAF are ready to assist federal partners in their investigation.
“We are, of course, concerned about the safety of our members and our responsibilities in the defense of Canada. We are therefore prepared to work with our federal partners and other government departments to determine the risk to our information, to our members and to our national defence.
Bloc Québécois MP Christine Normandin asked Boucher if there was a risk that Canadian and NATO military strategies would be learned by Chinese pilots through the alleged training given by former fighter pilots.
“I would say there is always the possibility of risk. Indeed, our pilots work with other NATO countries, with our allies, whether it is with the Canadian unit or with other allies, and of course we share the concerns of our allies regarding these allegations. replied Boucher.
“But that said, we trust our members. And we also want to trust pensioners. And we hope they will maintain their obligations under the Privacy Act.
Jenny Li, Olivia Li and Andrew Chen contributed to this report.