Michael Chan: Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

March 6, 2023

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2




Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to respectfully request that you immediately convene a full public inquiry into the profoundly disturbing activities of CSIS, its leadership, and its employees. Such activities have led to an unsustainable erosion of the public’s confidence in CSIS’ adherence to the rule of law, to the protection of the constitutional rights that uphold our cherished democracy, and to their mandate to safeguard our national security and the citizens they serve.

The justification for an urgent full public inquiry into CSIS includes, but is not limited to:

  • Persistent, unlawful, and selective sharing of purported intelligence information by CSIS employees, including its motivations, that both violates the CSIS Code of Conduct and is an indictable breach of trust by a public officer offence under section 122 of the Criminal Code of Canada
  • The complicitous, self-serving, and unsettling relationship between CSIS and selected journalists that renders them compliant pipelines for agency-sanctioned defamatory disinformation and that undermines the ability of a free press to act in the public interest as a naturally skeptical counterbalance to CSIS’ extraordinary powers
  • The extent to which the pursuit by CSIS of an organizational policy to spread false and unsubstantiated allegations, without adequate checks on gross abuses of their intrusive powers and privacy invasion, has diminished the faith of Canadians and interfered with minority representation in our government.
  • Serious internal and external accusations that CSIS is rife with unacceptable and longstanding systemic racism and biases that extend into the wider Canadian society as reprehensible acts of civil rights’ abuses and xenophobic racial profiling that threaten our national security.
  • CSIS’ role as the primary source of intelligence that centres the organization as the natural focal point and foundation for a concurrent and in-depth wider public inquiry into foreign government interference in Canada’s elections.

In response to recent lawsuits by CSIS employees who claim CSIS functions as “an old boy’s club” and “CSIS management had created and perpetuated a culture of systemic racism”, current CSIS Director David Vigneault publicly acknowledged “that, yes, systemic racism does exist here.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group are among organizations that have asked the federal government for “urgent, proactive and genuine” action to investigate CSIS leaks and “make a full and fair disclosure of all information.”

I can personally attest that, for 13 years, CSIS has targeted me with anonymous, irresponsible, false, and unsubstantiated allegations in cooperation with favoured journalists who have not hesitated to shamelessly propagate and convert innocuous, commonplace activities into baseless and slanderous rumours that I am somehow a threat to Canada. This pattern of poisonous insinuations and innuendo has become so outrageous that you, as Prime Minister, have recently been compelled to, on more than one occasion, expose the lies on which they are based and clarify the facts.

In my case, this ongoing persecution originated in 2010 with CSIS Director Richard Fadden who was widely condemned for his irresponsible comments. A subsequent Parliamentary Committee investigation, the first of two that were revelatory of CSIS’ catastrophic failings under Mr. Fadden’s leadership, harshly censured him and recommended the government require him to resign.

The consequences of repeated and unwarranted CSIS attacks have been irreparable damage to my reputation and the safety of myself and my family, the severity of which compelled me to seek help from police a number of years ago and share information about specific malevolent organizations they should investigate if I suddenly disappeared or died. Equally concerning, I am not alone in experiencing CSIS’ disregard for the human toll of their libelous smears on other visible minority Canadians and ethnic community leaders.

Canadians deserve clear answers and reject the notion that CSIS’ secretive veil shields them from the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and accountability. I earnestly urge you to reverse your decision and call a public inquiry into foreign government interference in Canada’s elections focusing on CSIS, the catalyst for what has now rapidly devolved into a partisan circus. This will serve to protect the stability of Canada’s vibrantly diverse society and halt any further weakening of our democracy. It is also hoped that its findings would repurpose CSIS’ substantial resources on thwarting real threats to our national security.



Michael Chan


The Open Letter is first published by Michael Chan’s Twitter



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