The Spy Who Gladhanded Me

Marvelous diversity in my freshly-ironed weekend Globe, the front page of the Opinion section given over to the marginalized, oft-silenced, voices of anonymous national security officials. You’ve come a long way, [REDACTED]!

In a highly-classified op-ed, Canada’s chattiest spook assures us of the purity of his/her/their motives for leaking intelligence reports on Chinese election ratfuckery to the jackals of the fourth estate:

“In this line of work, the question of whether or not to blow the whistle rarely arrives unaccompanied by other ones. I asked myself: Can I do this while mitigating the risk to our country’s sources and methods? Will this mean the end of my career? Who will take care of my family if I go to prison?

“For me, the answer to those questions was found in weighing them against the public interest.

“I hold no personal complaint against our political leaders, against our national security or against the Liberal Party. Indeed, I have voted for the latter in past elections and hope to be able to do so again one day.”

So that’s alright, then! Just a simple, secret civil servant, freelancing classified intelligence docs to the media to uphold their oath, not a political bone in their patriotic body.

Nobody is suggesting, nor should they, that the crepuscular men, women and what-have-you of our intelligence services are innocent of all civic zeal or partisan passion.

In the 2019 running of the reptiles, Maxime Bernier’s Pipples Party fielded its maiden slate of swivel-eyed bigots, fundamentalist nutbars, former Conservative MPs and other undesirables.

In the Liberal rotten borough of Ottawa-Vanier, though, the Pips offered Paul Durst, sedate and refreshingly charisma-free, a veteran, public servant and family man, standing up for balanced budgets and Canadian values, with an equitable policy against both political correctness and identity politics.

Candidate Durst proudly emphasized his military service (Royal Canadian Regiment ’87-’02.) And after that?

“Since 2002 Paul has continued to serve his country in the Public Service as a manager and senior advisor and has specialized in relationship building, partnerships and collaboration.”

Oddly, Paul wasn’t listed in GEDS, and he didn’t Google well, either.

Fortuitously, Durst came door-knocking, accompanied by a taciturn young volunteer o’ colour (a nice gesture, Frank thought) who immediately stepped in to defend his candidate from my proffered business card and a complimentary copy of my organ.

When I enquired in which federal department Durst served his country, he demurred.

Okay, but was it, as three sources had told Frank, CSIS?

“I can’t talk about that.”

I left it there, after thinking better of calling to disturb the fever dreams of Pipples’ spokesthingy Martin Masse, and didn’t bother following up with our spy service either, which warns that all manner of fraudsters pose as CSIS employees, while observing a longstanding policy of not identifying their personnel. This is the crew, after all, that in 2019 refused to confirm or deny any details of having won the Information Commissioner’s Award for, er, transparency.

So, was the enigmatic Durst a sincerely ambitious tribune of the people, or perhaps an undercover operative assigned to babysit Mad Max’s gang of goobers? Answers come there none.

In the event, Ottawa-Vanier went Liberal for the 15th straight election (Treasury Board Prez Mona Fortier in a walk.) Agent Durst finished a deposit-losing fifth, with 1.7 per cent of the vote. Frank cannot rule out Chinese involvement.


  1. No discussion of Canadian intelligence is complete without Arthur Thomas Porter IV – once chair Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee – Canada’s “spy watchdog”. Porter, arrested and died in Panama, fleeing a $22.5 million kick-back scheme investigation. With watchdogs like these, any wonder our wilderness of mirrors lies in shambles?

  2. Leaking to Fife/Chase and Global breaks Federal secrets law…so if PD were the leaker, he’d be charged. Right?

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