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

Cody Bandsma practises kiting with his new paraglider wing at Blackburn Park on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
VIDEO: Cody Bandsma reaching new heights over Salmon Arm

Former 100 Mile resident discovers Shuswap by air with powered paraglider

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A promotional image for The Wharf Sessions album. (Salmon Arm Arts Centre image)
The Wharf Sessions album pays tribute to Salmon Arm’s long-running concert series

Salmon Arm Arts Centre wanted to give recording opportunity to artists in a tough year

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

An overhead view of the proposed location of 5 new units at Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park. (District of Sicamous image)
5 new rental units proposed at Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park

Coun. Gord Bushell said he thinks it will be great to have five new rentals in the community

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read