Chinese officials have been quietly grilling Canada about illicit marijuana flowing to their country, prompting Ottawa to agree to work with them on the problem, an internal federal memo reveals.
The previously unknown issue arose during talks between the two countries on curbing the clandestine importation of opioids into Canada, which has fuelled a crisis of overdose deaths from fentanyl and related compounds.
Federal officials are trying to fight the opioid influx by drawing on expertise from various agencies. The RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency have been collaborating with Chinese law-enforcement counterparts to address the scourge.
Canada says the Chinese government takes a consistently strong official stand against trafficking in illicit drugs and supports international co-operation to disrupt criminal activities.
But until now there has been little or no public hint of Beijing pointing a finger at Canada over illegal drugs.
An April 2017 meeting of deputy ministers “determined that China is concerned about what Canada is doing to stem the flow of illicit cannabis into China and we will be working with them on this issue,” says the federal memo released under the Access to Information Act.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa had no comment on the apparent weed-related worries.