Title: Former RCAF Pilots Under RCMP Probe in China Training Matter
Three former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots are currently being investigated by the RCMP over their involvement in training military and civilian pilots in China. The Test Flying Academy of South Africa (TFASA), their South African employer, assures that no sensitive information was shared with Chinese authorities. However, Canadian security officials remain cautious and continue their scrutiny of the situation.
RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival, in a statement to The Globe and Mail, confirmed that the RCMP was aware of the report involving former RCAF pilots training People’s Liberation Army Air Force pilots in China. Percival also mentioned that the RCMP is actively investigating the matter and will not provide further comment at this time.
The Globe reached out to former RCAF pilot Paul Umrysh regarding his training activities with fellow pilots Craig Sharp and David Monk in China, but no response was received. TFASA spokesperson Edward Lee acknowledged their employment and contract to train Chinese pilots. He emphasized that their training strictly adheres to unclassified procedures and materials obtained from open sources or clients. Lee also expressed that the training provided by TFASA does not include information related to NATO and that their employees are bound by strict protocols not to disclose any sensitive or classified information.
On August 24, representatives from Public Safety Canada contacted “a number of TFASA employees” to request that they cease training pilots in China. Lee confirmed this exchange and mentioned that ongoing conversations with Canadian security personnel are taking place. He affirmed that any suggestion of TFASA providing assistance to foreign powers with advanced tactics, techniques, procedures, or technology is incorrect. Lee firmly stated that the company is in full compliance with the law.
The Globe attempted to contact CSIS to discuss the situation further, but they declined to provide additional information about their discussions with the pilots. CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam released a statement highlighting the strategic pursuit of some states for geopolitical advantage on multiple fronts, including economic, technological, political, and military domains, which poses a direct threat to Canada’s national security and sovereignty.
The investigation into the former RCAF pilots’ activities in China raises concerns about potential breaches of national security. The RCMP, along with other Canadian security agencies, continues to investigate the matter closely, underscoring the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the country’s sovereignty.
This situation serves as a reminder of the need for stringent protocols and clear guidelines when engaging in international training programs. It is essential to uphold the highest standards of security and protect sensitive information, ensuring the integrity of military and civilian training operations.
The outcome of the ongoing investigation will determine the appropriate actions to be taken to address any misconduct or breach of Canadian security protocols. Concerned citizens and stakeholders will closely follow developments in this case, expecting accountability and a resolution that ensures the protection of Canada’s national security interests.