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

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Outdoor vendors at the Cloverdale Flea Market are seen in this bird’s eye view image from the flea market’s Facebook page.
Cloverdale Flea Market to reopen

Market to open June 20 after being closed since Nov. 2020

Rahim Manji owns and operates the Hollywood 3 Cinemas in Newton, along with the Caprice in South Surrey, a theatre in Duncan and another in Pitt Meadows. “I think right now it feels different than last June, it just does,” Manji said. “I’m a lot more optimistic, with more people calling, more people out and getting vaccinated, so I think the comfort level is a lot better.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey movie theatre operators reopen and rejoice, even with 50-max capacity

‘We have been one of the hardest-hit industries’

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police searching for Surrey woman missing at Centennial Beach

Wenyan Lan, 54, reported missing when she didn’t come home from a crabbing/clam digging trip June 14

Popular event/party band March Hare will appear in an online streamed performance Friday (June 18) featuring their salute to music of the `60s and `70s as part of BEC Entertainment’s Grand Summer Virtual Concert series. (Contributed photo)
White Rock-based BEC Entertainment continues Friday-night virtual concerts

March Hare and California Surf Incorporated featured

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

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

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read