Alberta premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education after being sworn into office, in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education after being sworn into office, in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta asks universities to report on links with Beijing and Communist Party

Universities have 90 days to submit a report to Alberta’s Advanced Education Ministry

Alberta’s advanced education minister has sent a letter to four of the province’s universities asking them to pause their pursuit of new or renewed partnerships with organizations linked with China or the Chinese Communist Party.

A ministry spokesman says in an email that Demetrios Nicolaides has also asked the four comprehensive academic and research institutions to thoroughly review their relationships with entities that are potentially linked with the People’s Republic of China and its governing party.

The letter asks that the review ensures “these ongoing partnerships follow stringent risk assessments and due diligence.”

“I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships with the People’s Republic of China may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” Nicolaides said in a statement.

“More needs to be done to curb foreign state infiltration into our research and innovation centres, including our post-secondary institutions.”

The universities have 90 days to submit a report with the requested information to Alberta’s Advanced Education Ministry.

The University of Calgary said in an email that it has received the letter and is reviewing it, but isn’t able to comment at this time.

The University of Alberta acknowledged it, too, received the minister’s letter and will be responding. It also referred to a statement made earlier this month by Walter Dixon, interim vice-president of research and innovation, which said the school has asked the federal government for guidance on the issue.

Dixon said the university looks forward to guidelines expected late next month from a working group of the federal government and universities that’s dealing with national security as it relates to funding and research partnerships.

“A consistent national response on security matters and international engagement is necessary and we are fully committed to working with all levels of government to ensure that Canada’s core security interests are protected and advanced,” Dixon said in the statement on May 4.

A policy statement from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in March warned members of the research community, particularly those involved in COVID-19 research, to take extra precautions to protect the security of their work.

“Canada’s world-class research, and its open and collaborative research environment, are increasingly targeted by espionage and foreign interference activities,” the policy statement said, although it did not name a particular country.

Nicolaides said his priority is to work with post-secondary institutions to protect Canadian intellectual property, and to make sure they don’t enter agreements that would undermine Canada’s “core national interests.”

He also said the province would welcome a “comprehensive national framework from Ottawa on these serious pressing issues,” noting that national security and intelligence are primarily the federal government’s domain.

Dixon’s statement from earlier this month noted that international partnerships are important, and the University of Alberta has agreements with partners from over 80 different countries.

“International partnerships, which include research projects, teaching and mobility agreements, and international learning opportunities are what allow the academy to provide students, post-docs, and faculty with the experiences needed to ensure that knowledge flows around the globe,” he said.

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AlbertaChinaUniversities and Colleges

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

18-year-old skier Logan Leach follows his guide, Julien Petit, down an alpine track. The Lumby athlete who is visually impaired has been named to Alpine Canada’s Ski Team ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Contributed)
Lumby’s Logan Leach named to national ski team

The 18-year-old visually impaired athlete officially joins Canada’s Para-Alpine roster ahead of Beijing 2022

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is the first ski area in Canada to signify its commitment to ending working poverty, by paying all its staff and contracted workers a living wage. (Contributed)
Vernon ski area first in Canada to pay living wage

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club invests in staff and contracted workers

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

A young child has been taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child struck by vehicle in downtown Vernon

The young child has been taken to hospital with unknown injuries following the incident on main street

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Police identify South Okanagan homicide victim as 57-year-old Naramata woman

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Most Read