Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press When a journalist asked the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, to clarify whether he therefore answered in the negative on the occasion of having the security clearance, he asserted that “that sounds like a 'no'”.
Bloquiste leader Yves-François Blanchet indicated Wednesday that he will not obtain the security clearance necessary to be able to read sensitive information that led the special rapporteur on foreign interference, David Johnston, to rule against a public inquiry commission.
Becoming the second leader of an opposition party to rule out the option after Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, Mr. Blanchet maintained that he made this choice because he faced “a trap”. He was referring to the lifelong secrecy that comes with the so-called “top secret” security clearance.
“The trick is to say 'you'll see everything, you can't say (and) you can't do anything with it,'” he said in a scrum in Ottawa.
In his opinion, this will give free rein to Justin Trudeau's Liberals to “strut around saying 'We showed them everything to the opposition leaders'”. “It's really taking the world for nonos,” continued Mr. Blanchet.
When a journalist asked him to clarify if he therefore answered in the negative on the occasion of having the security clearance, he said “that sounds like a 'no.'”.
In his report released on Tuesday, Mr. Johnston recommends that the leaders of the three opposition parties obtain this “top secret” security clearance in order to access a confidential appendix to his report containing information relating to national security. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he, in response to this recommendation, sent an invitation to party leaders.
According to Mr. Johnston, completing the process would allow party leaders to “observe” the work behind closed doors of the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence (CPSNR). This group of Senators and MPs from all major parties will review sensitive information, at the request of Mr. Johnston, which Mr. Trudeau has agreed to.
The objective defended by the special rapporteur is that parliamentarians can say, having consulted the intelligence elements, whether they arrive at the same conclusions as him or not.
All members of the CPSNR hold an authorization Top Secret security and are permanently bound to secrecy.
Mr. Poilievre once had this rating when he was minister, but it has lapsed since it is only granted for five years.
“Regarding any proposal that (Mr. Johnston) has to silence me, the answer is 'no', I will not be muzzled,” the Conservative leader said Tuesday during a visit to Quebec City.
At a press briefing on Wednesday in Toronto, he promised that he would launch the public and independent inquiry demanded in unison by the opposition parties if he becomes prime minister.
“Justin Trudeau has something to hide,” he argued. He argued that it should be left to a judge leading such a commission of inquiry and having experience with national security cases to determine which elements should remain confidential.
M. Blanchet abounded in the same direction. “No one ever said the whole thing was going to be made public,” he insisted.
Mr. Trudeau closed the door on the possibility of initiating a public inquiry on his own by overriding Mr. Johnston's recommendation.
He portrays the decision to consult the confidential annex as a choice between content and partisanship. He particularly lashed out at Mr. Poilievre on Wednesday.
“Is that leadership to choose ignorance so you can continue unsubstantiated attacks rather than engage seriously on such an important issue as (foreign) interference? “, he launched from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, indicated Tuesday that he intended to acquire the security clearance and thus access sensitive information , while insisting on the demand for a public and independent inquiry.