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

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

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

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

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

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?

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

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read