Conservatives approved Chinese police-owned firm to run visa centre: Blair

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he assumes safety authorities signed off on an association to permit an organization owned by a Chinese police power to run Canada’s visa utility centre in Beijing.

Blair says he can solely make assumptions as a result of the association was put in place in 2008, underneath the earlier Conservative government.

Still, he says he is been assured by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that the private info offered by visa candidates is safe.

He says the data is dealt with in response to Canada’s privateness legal guidelines, that no utility or biometrically collected knowledge is saved on the centre and that all databases containing private info are situated in Canada.

Questions have been raised in regards to the centre since The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that its operation has been subcontracted to Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Company, which is owned by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Opposition MPs questioned Blair in regards to the chance that visa candidates’ private info could possibly be relayed to the Chinese government and trigger damaging repercussions, notably for dissidents attempting to flee the nation’s repressive Communist regime.

Bloc Quebecois MP Stephane Bergeron and New Democrat MP Jack Harris pressed Blair to clarify which of Canada’s nationwide safety businesses 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 informed the particular 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.”

‘That’s not a lot consolation:’ NDP

Blair stated there are “normal procurement processes” in place for contracting out companies and he assumes they have been adopted on 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 will not be a safety company however he stated it does have an info expertise specialist division that has offered assurances that the visa info is safe.

He stated inspections and audits are often performed to make sure there isn’t a privateness breach of delicate info and there was no proof of an issue.

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