7 Reasons Why I Support e-4395 Petition

This Petition is authorized and sponsored by Chandra Arya, a Liberal MP from Nepean, Ontario. Independent Senator Yuen Pau Woo of British Columbia contributed to the drafting of the Petition and is a strong supporter of the Petition, so as a Conservative Senator Victor Oh of Ontario. It is also supported by retired Senator Vivienne Poy, who became the first Canadian of Asian descent to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. She was instrumental in having May recognized by the federal government as Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

By Ban Zhang

Within 10 days since its launch, a Parliament Petition, e-4395, has received over 1,000 signatures online across Canada, calling the government of Canada to reconsider proposing foreign influence transparency registry. Despite the fact that valid signatures have already doubled the threshold of 500, of which the government has to respond to the petition with 45 days after it is presented to the House of Common, the Petition still needs many more Canadians to support it in order to make a better change for Canada.

I support the e-4395 Petition. Here are the 7 reasons.


#1: I want Canada to be safer.

Recently, the media reported foreign interferences in the Canadian democracy process. If these allegations are true, it is dangerous for Canada. Every Canadian should oppose foreign interference from all sources. That is why the Federal government is seeking public input on a proposed Foreign Influence Transparency Registry until May 9th, 2023.

The purpose of this consultation is to solicit feedback from the Canadian public and stakeholders on how Canada can implement a foreign influence transparency registry in order to bolster defenses against malign foreign influence, and what those measures might entail. Input will inform decision-making and the subsequent design of new measures that may be tabled in Parliament.[1]

The e-4395 Petition is the coordinated voice of a group of concerned citizens and residents in response to this Consultation. It asks the Government of Canada to reconsider the proposed foreign influence transparency registry.

More specifically, the Petition reminds the Government of Canada that a registry will not sufficient enough to address the problem of foreign interference activities such as harassment and intimidation of Canadians. These bad acts are already unlawful in Canada. If needed, these existing laws and enforcement can be strengthened.

On the contrary, maybe as one of unintended consequences, a registry based on selected few countries could create a backdoor or sideway for malign foreign influence from selected sources to zigzag into Canada through non-selected countries. Equally dangerous is that a registry based on selected few countries could open our door to malign influence from non-selected countries.

Rightly, the Petition asks the Government of Canada to find right tools to keep Canada safer from malign foreign influence from all sources.


#2: I want Canada to be more inclusive.

As a Canadian of Chinese descent, I have always felt proud of my Chinese heritage and calling Canada home. I also hope that my child and grandchild will feel the same. Unfortunately, however, the proposed foreign influence transparency registry is likely to put me, my child and my grandchild in jeopardy and even at risk.

The proposed Registry could require Canadians with ties to any organization in the PRC or other selected countries to register if they speak with a Canadian public official, work in a profession related to Canadian public policy, or be elected as a public officer him/herself. Failure to register could result in fines and other jail penalties. This is not inclusive at all that Canadians believe and beloved.

Also, it cannot be considered inclusive when the notion of “foreign” is seen as a source of original sin while nearly 1 in 4 Canadians are foreign-born.

Furthermore, like a deep cut, the proposed Registry has already divided the community between groups holding different views on the Registry. Even worse is that a should-be debate on the merit or failure of the Registry has been turned to stigmatizing and assaulting people based on different views and personal identities – “Anti-registry = Pro-CCP”.

Is this right?


#3: I want my voice to be heard.

When I brought my family to Canada, we embraced freedom and democracy, among other Canadian values such as the rule of law and respect for others in the society. Democracy to me is that everyone has the equal lawful right to say whatever it comes to electing a government, developing a public policy, or anything that matters to the community and the public.

Since I arrived in Canada, I have learned to participate in democracy by volunteering in electoral campaigns, casting votes in general elections, writing opinion pieces, sitting on the board of community organizations, and so forth.

This time, I also learned that a parliament petition is regular and directs citizen participation to express voices and views on issues of public interest, especially when there is no election taking place, and no restriction on voting rights. Anyone, including citizens and legal residents, can sign a petition.

According to the Parliament of Canada, an electronic petition (“e-petition”) is used to draw attention to an issue of public interest or concern and to request that the House of Commons, the Government of Canada, a Minister of the Crown, or a Member of the Parliament take or refrain from some action.[2]

In the past, petitions were submitted on paper and have been presented to the House of Commons for more than 100 years. Roughly 1,500 paper petitions are presented every year.

Electronic petitions were established in 2015. Roughly 200 e-petitions are open for signature every year and gather over 500,000 signatures annually, i.e., an average signature for an e-petition is 2,500 names.

A petition with at least 500 valid signatures will be presented to the House of Commons. The Standing Orders of the House of Commons require the government to respond to every petition presented to the House within 45 calendar days.

That is right – your voices are heard by signing a petition.


#4: I want to join other Canadians.

Every voice matters, but collective voices are louder. The e-4395 petition represents a coordinated voice from the community from coast to coast to coast.

The Petition was submitted to the Parliament by Wang Li, PhD, an independent scholar and author based in Vancouver. The submission was joined by five other supporting signatories from different ethnic backgrounds across Canada.

In just 3 days, the Petition was signed by more than the minimum 500 names required for the Government of Canada to provide a formal response. As writing of this article, the online signatures are getting close to 1,200 names, representing every province of Canada.

Individuals who stand out to sign or consider signing the Petition ought to understand its importance. Anti-Asian racism is on the rise, fed in part by media reports alleging that Chinese Canadians are disloyal, based on anonymous sources.

A registry will fuel such suspicions about Canadians being “foreign agents” because of where they come from, who they associate with, and what they think. This will happen even if they don’t have to register.

It will cause many of those affected, especially Chinese Canadians, to withdraw from civic and political engagement, which will further marginalize them in Canadian society.

It is part of a wider set of restrictions on the freedoms of Canadians driven by geopolitical forces and national security overreach.

Defending Canadians’ rights and freedom is the right thing for all.


#5: I want to show respect to respectable statespersons.

There is slight difference between a politician and a statesperson. As an English saying, “A politician thinks about the next elections, and a statesman thinks about the next generations.”

This Petition is authorized and sponsored by Chandra Arya, a Liberal MP from Nepean, Ontario. Independent Senator Yuen Pau Woo of British Columbia contributed to the drafting of the Petition and is a strong supporter of the Petition, so as a Conservative Senator Victor Oh of Ontario. It is also supported by retired Senator Vivienne Poy, who became the first Canadian of Asian descent to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. She was instrumental in having May recognized by the federal government as Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

A deep bow to these Canadian statespersons.

On the contrary, many politicians or lost-seat politicians are scrambling to get media attention but paying no attention to the issues that will affect Canadians in many generations.

Right, when they go low, we go high.


#6: I want to be part of the history.

More than a hundred years ago, Chinese laborers built the Pacific Railway based on which Canada became a united country from coast to coast to coast. No one will doubt that it was the Chinese immigrants’ contributed in the construction of Canada’s physical infrastructure, railway in particular. Chinese Canadians made the history of Canada.

Today, this parliamentary Petition is perhaps a new example of the Chinese community’s active participation in and contribution to the construction of Canada’s social infrastructure, i.e., democracy system. They are making a new history in Canada.

Only if Chinese Canadians can truly participate in and contribute to the community and society affairs, and only if they can have a say in the policies and politics, can the group truly become one that is not discriminated against.

Historians will certainly document the contribution of this Petition submitted and signed by many people of Chinese descent to the Canadian democracy.

Right now, I want be part of it.


#7: I want my privacy protected.

Personal privacy is a priority concern for many individuals when it comes to the online signature. Me too, I don’t want my personal information being leaked to or used by any third party for any purposes other than this Petition.

The House of Commons provides a safeguard to this protection, which I quoted in full below,

The House of Commons is committed to follow best practices related to the protection of personal information collected, used, disclosed, transmitted and preserved as part of the e-petition process.

The personal information provided on this website will be subject to the following:

The House of Commons’ authorized personnel will have access to the personal information of a petitioner, supporter and signatory, and may use it to contact them or to validate their identity to ensure the integrity of the e-petition process. Data may be used for statistical purposes.

The petitioner and supporters of an e-petition will be provided with automatic email updates on the various stages of the said e-petition, while signatories will be asked if they wish to subscribe to those emails, for each petition signed.[3]

When someone claims and threatens that signing on this Petition will be reported to CSIS, and CSIS will knock on your door after the Petition is over, you know this person is lying.


Right. If you agree with my 7 reasons or part of them, please consider supporting House of Commons e-Petition 4395, which calls on the Government of Canada to reconsider the Foreign Influence Transparency Registry.

Please use this link to add your name to the Petition.  Signing up is safe, easy and fast. Your personal details will not be shared or made public, but your voice will be heard!



[1] Enhancing Foreign Influence Transparency: Exploring Measures to Strengthen Canada’s Approach (publicsafety.gc.ca)

[2] Electronic Petitions – Guide and Terms of Use (ourcommons.ca)

[3] Electronic Petitions – Guide and Terms of Use (ourcommons.ca)  

(By Ban Zhang, a Vancouver-based writer)


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