Is China recruiting Canadian fighter pilots? Department of Defense Investigation Reports – National

The Department of National Defense is examining reports that the Chinese government may be paying Canadian military fighter pilots to train Beijing’s air force.

A spokesperson confirmed the development to Global News on Friday, following several Canadian, British and Australian media reports alleging that China may offer hundreds of thousands of dollars to former members of the army. Western air force to persuade them to train Chinese military pilots.

“We are aware of these reports and are investigating this further with federal partners,” the spokesperson said in a statement Friday.

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According to a BBC report, up to 30 former British military pilots « would have gone to train members of the People’s Liberation Army of China ». Pilots have been offered ‘lucrative’ packages of up to C$350,000 for their work, according to this BBC report. And although the BBC report does not mention Canada, the Daily Mail reports that Canadians are also being approached for the task.

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However, the Canadians could face serious consequences if they accept Beijing’s offer.

“The Privacy Act applies to current and former members, and failure to comply with the Act could result in serious consequences,” said Department of National Defense spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier. .

A person convicted of an indictable offense under the Act could be imprisoned for up to 14 years. Those convicted of a summary conviction offense can face up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are an “institution that upholds democratic principles and the rule of law,” the spokesperson said, and they expect “current and former members of the CAF to adhere to the values ​​of the institution. « .

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“Any behavior that could harm Canadian national interests constitutes a breach of that trust and will be dealt with appropriately,” he added.

Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lt. Gen. Eric Kenny, meanwhile, was pressed on the matter during an appearance before the House of Commons National Defense Committee on Tuesday, and said he was “aware” of the reports.

“I focus on the national security of Canada and Canadians. We take this very seriously,” Kenney said.

« We review threats every day to make sure we are prepared to deal with them today and in the future. »

Canada is working « very closely » with all of its partners to ensure it undertakes « appropriate vetting » related to the safety of those working within the Air Force, Kenney added.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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