The Heritage Front
A report to the Solicitor General of Canada
December 9th, 1995
VIII. THE REFORM PARTY AND A FOREIGN COUNTRY
In the course of our file review we learned that in 1989-90, CSIS conducted
an investigation of "Unknown Contributor(s) to Preston Manning's
8.1 The Tip
On November 2, 1988, an individual gave a CSIS Investigator some information
about his relationship with a foreign mission in Canada.
He reported a conversation he had had with a member of the Board of Directors
of an association which promoted links between the foreign government and
Canada. He conveyed to the Board Member his concern over what he felt was
unjust criticism by the foreign government of Canada's foreign policy towards
the foreign country.
According to the individual, the Board Member apparently responded to this
statement by telling him that everything had been taken care of, as they
were giving money and support to Manning and his group in the upcoming Federal
election. The individual advised CSIS that he thought that the Board Member's
reference to giving money and support to Manning and his group, meant that
the foreign government was contributing money and support to Preston Manning,
leader of the Reform Party, who was running against Joe Clark in the Alberta
riding of Yellowhead.
The Regional Investigator commented in his report to CSIS Headquarters that
if in fact true (i.e. the foreign government was providing money and support
to Preston Manning and the Reform Party), this would appear to be a classic
foreign interference operation.
The Regional investigator, however, cautioned CSIS HQ about the source and
the veracity of the information. The individual was an unknown quantity,
who was both self-serving and very opportunistic, particularly if it benefitted
himself. However, notwithstanding the reliability of the above information
and given that it may have had some, as yet unconfirmed, validity, it was
reported for information purposes.
A few days later, on November 21, 1988, a CSIS' Regional office learned
of another conversation the individual had had with a close associate of
the Board Member's, who he would not identify. The individual learned that
the foreign government may have contributed as much as $45,000 to Preston
Manning and his Reform Party in trying to defeat Joe Clark in his riding
of Yellowhead. The Investigator immediately provided CSIS HQ with the information.
CSIS Headquarters analyzed the information provided by its office later
in December. In January 1989, the Desk at CSIS HQ provided the Regional
office with HQ's analysis of the information
CSIS Headquarters also requested any new information the Region might have
learned about the issue.
- given Canada's firm position on this international issue, the possibility
remained that a foreign country would have had much to gain in providing
money and support to Preston Manning and the Reform Party to defeat Joe
Clark, External Affairs Minister;
- research revealed that foreign funding of a candidate was not in itself
- if it was shown that the foreign government indeed contributed as
much as $45,000 to Manning's campaign, CSIS could in time attempt to make
the argument that the foreign government was unduly influencing Canadian
- the individual had stated that he believed that it was the foreign
government which contributed money and support to Preston Manning; but the
contact actually said: "we" which, in HQ's opinion, could
most likely have referred to a group of Canadian businessmen who belonged
to the association.
8.2 The International Environment
In 1988, Canada was a leading advocate on an important international issue.
The foreign government particularly resented Canada's position and engaged
in covert operations in this country and provided funds to support those
8.3 The Targeting Decision
On October 17, 1989, the Service decided to formally investigate the alleged
$45,000 contribution. CSIS said that they could not go back to the informant
as all contacts had ended on December 31, 1988.
The Service authorized a three-month Level 1
investigation entitled: "LNU
FNU (Unknown Contributor(s) to Preston
Manning's Electoral Campaign)". The Service cited section 12 and
paragraph 2(b) of the CSIS Act as the legal basis for the investigation.
To support its investigation, the Desk Head cited the following facts:
The Unit Head remarked that the Level 1 authorization was requested in order
to undertake a regional check of public records. He wanted to determine
if indeed any sizeable monetary contribution was made to Preston Manning
by either sympathetic groups or individuals, or the foreign government.
To paraphrase, he wrote that:
- a contact of unknown reliability indicated that the foreign government
may have contributed $45,000 to Preston Manning and the Reform Party;
- the foreign government would have had much to gain in contributing
to the electoral defeat of Canada's External Affairs Minister;
- a meeting was to be held between the Ambassador of the foreign government
and Preston Manning. The meeting was cancelled, however, at the last minute
by the Embassy; and
- a CSIS target was also showing interest and making overtures to the
Reform Party prior to the election.
"We do not, at this time, suspect Mr. Manning of any complicity
with the foreign government concerned and/or their supporters. Due to the
manner in which the CSIS Targeting Policy is drafted, we cannot conduct
the necessary enquiries of public records of electoral candidates' financial
election statements without an appropriate TARC authority."
Under the targeting policy at the time, the Service could not examine public
records of the electoral candidate's financial election statements without
TARC authority. The Unit Head had the authority to authorize the necessary
Level 1 authority without further consultation. However, because of the
sensitivity of the issue, he first discussed the matter with the Director
General (Counter-Intelligence), CSIS Senior Legal Counsel, the Chief of
the Counter-Intelligence - General Desk, and the TARC Coordinator for counter-intelligence.
The Director General (Counter-Intelligence) stipulated, in a written note,
that the investigation was not to "proceed beyond a search/review
of public records without referral" back to him.
8.4 The Investigation
The Service did not use intrusive techniques, such as Federal Court warrant
powers, physical surveillance, informants, etc., for this investigation.
CSIS restricted its investigation solely to the collection of public documents
from Elections Canada to ascertain if a sizeable contribution had in fact
been made to Preston Manning's Electoral Campaign; it then checked the names
of contributors against its databases. CSIS did not enter the names of the
contributors into its databases.
8.4.1 Access to Elections Canada Public Information
On October 17, 1989, CSIS Headquarters tasked its Ottawa Regional Office
to obtain a copy of Preston Manning's auditor's report: "... containing
detailed statements of all election expenses, etc. and the amount of money
or services provided for the use of the candidate by individuals, governments,
On October 26, 1989, an investigator met with a Legal Advisor at Elections
Canada who provided the CSIS investigator with the following documents:
[Graphic in actual SIRC report]
These documents are all available to the general public.
The Ottawa Region investigator's report then added the following:
"Documentation regarding the Reform Party's Return will not
be available until July 1990 [...]. The Candidate's documents indicate that
Manning incurred a total of $112,366.41 in expenses during 1988, the majority
of which was spent on "advertising". Manning received a total
of $23,390.15 in donations from individuals and $25,975 from businesses.
He received seven $1,000 and one $1,500 donations from individuals. From
businesses he received three $1,000, two $2,000 and one $5,000 donations.
Other donations were of smaller sums."
To paraphrase, the Investigator concluded that until they were able to obtain
the returns for the Reform Party in July 1990, they would be unable to draw
a conclusion as to whether Manning and/or the Reform Party may have received
a financial contribution either directly or indirectly from the foreign
government. It appeared from these records that a contribution of this size
would have been a substantial addition to Manning's campaign. Since Manning
was competing in Joe Clark's riding of Yellowhead, however, it would have
certainly benefitted the foreign government to support any candidate who
might have ousted Clark from his position.
The Head of the Counter-Intelligence General Desk in Ottawa Region added
that, from the available evidence it was clear that Mr. Manning's election
campaign did not receive any sizable sums of money from the foreign government
through its intermediaries."
8.4.2 CSIS Checks Contributors' Names
The CSIS Ottawa Region Investigator checked the names of the contributing
individuals and companies against the CSIS databases but found nothing.
CSIS HQ sent hard copies of Preston Manning's return to three of its offices
and all responses were similarly negative.
8.4.3 Interviews of Casual Sources and Community Contacts
In September 1990, a CSIS District office conducted an interview about the
foreign embassy's dealings with the association and about the foreign mission's
ties to the Reform Party. He answered that he "is not aware of any
connections/contacts between the foreign Embassy and representatives of
the Reform Party of Canada."
8.5.1 The Targeting Decision
First, we considered whether funding and support to a political party from
a foreign government would constitute a threat to the security of Canada.
In our opinion, the preliminary information and the foreign government's
plans seemed to have all the ingredients of a foreign influence operation.
We have not seen any political instruction regarding that investigation.
There is no documentation on file to indicate that the Solicitor General's
Office either had any knowledge of the investigation or provided direction
8.5.2 The Investigation
We assessed whether CSIS took the appropriate measures to minimize the potential
impact that this investigation could have on the Reform Party.
CSIS did not investigate the Reform Party or its membership. In 1988 and
1989, CSIS had a Level 3 investigation against the activities of the foreign
intelligence service and its agents in Canada. In the course of its investigation,
CSIS collected some information about Reform Party contacts with that foreign
country's embassy. The information collected on the Party's contacts with
the Embassy was very limited.
Overall, we believe that CSIS had reasonable grounds to suspect a threat
to national security from the foreign government's intelligence service,
as defined by section 2(b) of the CSIS Act.
1 Level 1 investigations are the least intrusive. They are restricted to
the use of public information and access to government and police records.
2 Abbreviation for "Last Name Unknown".
3 Abbreviation for "First Name Unknown".
4 Section 2(b) of the CSIS Act defines foreign influence activities.
"Threats to the security of Canada means: (b) foreign influenced
activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests
of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person."
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