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HomeBusinessSenior RCMP intelligence official charged with breaching national security law a “very fine Canadian,” says colleague

Senior RCMP intelligence official charged with breaching national security law a “very fine Canadian,” says colleague


Bob Mackin

A colleague of the senior RCMP intelligence director accused of leaking federal government secrets says the charges against Cameron Jay Ortis are totally out of character.

“Nothing in my experience with Cameron would lead me to suspect he would be any way involved in activities that would lead to such charges,” Paul Evans, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s school of Public Policy and Global Affairs, told by email. “Like others who know him well, I was shocked by the news of the arrest of a very fine Canadian.  While the matter is under investigation, I have no further comment.”

University of B.C. professor Paul Evans (UBC)

Abbotsford, B.C.-raised Ortis, a 47-year-old cybersecurity expert fluent in Mandarin, was charged Sept. 13 under three sections of the Security of Information Act and two sections of the Criminal Code. The accusations include unauthorized communication of special operation information, breach of trust by a public officer and unauthorized use of a computer. Offences allegedly took place in 2015 and 2018.

John MacFarlane, a spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service, said outside an Ottawa courthouse where Ortis made an appearance by video that the civilian is alleged to have “obtained, stored, processed sensitive information.” The Crown wants a judge to deny Ortis bail.

“The Crown believes that he intended to communicate that information to people he shouldn’t be communicating to,” MacFarlane told reporters.

Ortis completed his doctorate in philosophy in political science in August 2006 at UBC and held a postdoctoral appointment at UBC’s Centre for International Relations. Evans was on Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee and worked with him on training programs for junior researchers from Asian policy institutes. They also co-published essays on ways the Internet was being used for positive and negative purposes in the Asia-Pacific region, Evans said. 

“After taking up his role in Ottawa we met socially from time to time,” Evans said. “He did not discuss the details of his work and throughout was an exemplar of discretion and integrity in our interactions.”  

Evans was co-chair with Yuen Pau Woo, a Justin Trudeau-appointed senator, of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada from 2005 to 2008 and authored 2014’s “Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper.” One of the papers that Evans and Ortis produced was “The Internet and Asia-Pacific security: Old conflicts and new behaviour” in 2011. 

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