Canada: Public Probe Into Alleged Chinese Election Meddling Ruled Out
Special rapporteur David Johnston on Tuesday expressed his opposition to a public inquiry into allegations that China attempted to meddle in Canadian elections, instead calling for public hearings. PM Justin Trudeau said he would adhere to these recommendations.
- Special rapporteur David Johnston on Tuesday expressed his opposition to a public inquiry into allegations that China attempted to meddle in Canadian elections, instead calling for public hearings. PM Justin Trudeau said he would adhere to these recommendations.1
- Johnston, the former governor general who was appointed in March to examine the election claims, stressed that the classified intelligence he assessed couldn't be disclosed publicly and, therefore, a public review couldn't be done.2
- His report supported allegations that foreign governments are trying to influence Canadian politicians and voters but said it found no convincing evidence that Trudeau's government deliberately ignored national security intelligence.3
- Johnston pointed out that the failures occurred due to serious problems with how intelligence is shared within the government, adding that reports based on leaked materials were misconstrued due to a lack of context.4
- In response, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre claimed the report has zero credibility and accused Johnston of being a friend of the Trudeau family. Both his party and the left-leaning New Democrats argue that a public inquiry is necessary.5
- Diplomatic tensions between Canada and China escalated earlier this month after a Chinese diplomat allegedly involved in harassing Canadian Conservative lawmaker Michael Chong was declared "persona non grata" and ordered to leave Canada.6
Sources: 1Guardian, 2BBC News, 3Bloomberg, 4CTVNews, 5Al Jazeera, and 6ITN.
- Right narrative, as provided by TNC. As Johnston — a former member of the Trudeau Foundation and a friend of the Trudeau family — was appointed specifically to help the Prime Minister cover up Beijing's attacks, this report isn't surprising, though still disgraceful. Instead of censuring the government for mishandling claims of foreign interference, it passed the buck to media outlets to shape public opinion on the issue.
- Left narrative, as provided by Rabble. Unless the goal of some Canadian politicians is to fuel a new Cold War, there's no reason to demonize China. It is certain that Beijing seeks to shape reality in its own interests — as every great power does — but allegations of Chinese interference are mainly about suppressing dissent at home, not installing a pro-Chinese government in Canada. Ottawa is right to carefully choose how to react to Chinese actions.