Trudeau’s security adviser warned foreign agent registry could bring pushback

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2023-03-25 15:29:09  • 4 mins

A newly released memo shows the prime minister’s national security adviser warned him to expect some pushback from planned public consultations about a foreign agent registry, given that countries have used such registries as tools of control.

In her memo last August, Jody Thomas told Justin Trudeau the discussions “may elicit a range of reactions” – from applause to reservations.

“Concerns may be further amplified since some foreign governments, like Russia, have used ‘foreign agent registries’ to silence activists and shut down organizations critical of government,” Thomas said.

However, she said, national security experts, Canada’s allies and diaspora groups targeted by hostile states “will likely welcome these measures.”

The Canadian Press obtained the memo, marked Secret/Canadian Eyes Only, through the Access to Information Act. Portions of the document, including cabinet confidences and information about internal consultations, were withheld from release.

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The memo reveals that Trudeau had a discussion last June 30 with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese about “establishing a foreign agent registry in Canada and Australia’s experience in that regard.”

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