Darryl Dyck The Canadian Press In a press briefing on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau n expressed no sympathy for the idea of a public inquiry, touting its record of protecting against foreign interference.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau again rejects the idea of a public inquiry into alleged foreign interference in elections in Canada, a demand now shared by all opposition parties in Ottawa.
The New Democratic Party (NDP), the Bloc Québécois and finally the Conservative Party all three tabled a motion on this subject on Wednesday before a parliamentary committee. The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, had earlier sided with the idea of a public inquiry, provided it was not conducted by “another member of the Liberal establishment”. p>
“It has to be [a process] really independent and public. Independent, that means that all parties should agree on the appointment of the commissioner, “demanded the leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons, Wednesday, at the entrance of a federal parliamentary committee which deepens this question.
Pierre Poilievre clarified that such a commissioner should not be a former president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. A criticism of the legitimacy of ex-deputy minister Morris Rosenberg, the author of a federal report released on Tuesday which concludes that the result of the 2021 election was not tainted by foreign interference. Mr. Rosenberg led the Prime Minister's Family Foundation between 2014 and 2018.
The idea of a public inquiry was first promoted by the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has so far called for a subpoena for Justin Trudeau's chief of staff, Katie Telford, to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC).
Allegations of interference
The NDP repeatedly opposed Ms. Telford's invitation, blocking various invitation attempts in February. The most recent revelations of Chinese interference in the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections, published by the Global News network and the Globe and Mail daily, changed his mind.
The most recent chapter in this case, published Tuesday, alleges that the Chinese Communist Party tried to finance a statue of Pierre Trudeau in Montreal through a Chinese businessman present at Liberal fundraising campaigns. The prime minister also had to defend one of his Toronto MPs, Han Dong, “an extraordinary member of [his] team.” Mr. Dong reportedly received assistance from the Chinese consulate when making his local appointment, according to unnamed sources cited by Global. This information could not be independently verified by Le Devoir.
Justin Trudeau clarified on Monday that “it is not for unelected security officials to dictate to political parties who can and cannot run.” When pressed with questions by reporters, he linked questions about his MP's loyalty to rising anti-Asian racism.
The prime minister expressed no sympathy for the idea of a public inquiry Wednesday at a press briefing from British Columbia. Instead, he defended the processes in place, and touted his record of protecting against foreign interference, whether from China, Russia or Iran.
“We have created a lot of different institutions and tools so that our national security experts can do the necessary follow-ups, reassure Canadians [and] ensure that our elections remain fair,” he repeated.
NDP MP Peter Julian had just tabled a motion before the PROC committee in Ottawa. The text formally asks the House of Commons to launch a public inquiry. It requires the presence of ministers, of Ms. Telford, but also of her counterpart in the Conservative Party, as well as the national campaign managers of the Liberal and Conservative parties.
The Bloc Québécois and the CPC responded with their own version of the request for a public inquiry. The motions are due to be debated and voted on Thursday before the parliamentary committee, where opposition MPs are in the majority.
The prime minister's national security and intelligence adviser, Jody Thomas, was also among the invited to the committee on Wednesday. She did not confirm any details of the various media revelations. MPs could hear that Justin Trudeau regularly receives reports on foreign interference.
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet reiterated on Wednesday his call for a public inquiry into foreign interference , which would be beneficial for all political parties according to him. He added that he finds the Prime Minister's reference to racism in this case “outlandish”.