Canada announces probe to investigate possible Chinese election interference: NPR

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, March 6, 2023.

Sean Kilpatrick/AP

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Sean Kilpatrick/AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, March 6, 2023.

Sean Kilpatrick/AP

TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he will appoint a special investigator to decide whether there should be a public inquiry into reports of Chinese interference in Canadian elections.

Trudeau is also holding Parliament’s national security committee examining classified information on the matter.

The Globe and Mail, citing unidentified sources, reported last month that China’s Liberals would prefer to see Trudeau re-elected in the 2021 election and work to defeat him. to do to Conservative politicians who were considered unfriendly to Beijing.

The opposition parties have been demanding a full public inquiry.

Trudeau declined to do so now, but said he will appoint an independent special rapporteur who will decide whether a public inquiry is needed. Trudeau said he will stick to the proposal.

“We will ask the independent special rapporteur, as one of the first acts of his mandate, to make a recommendation to the government as to the appropriate next step – whether it is an investigation, an investigation or a judicial review – and what is it. the scope of that work may be,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said that “all political leaders agree that foreign interference did not affect the election results in 2019, and in 2021. problematic and serious.”

Conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre earlier on Monday criticized the idea of ​​a parliamentary committee being involved.

He said that would only mean that officials would “give some information to lawmakers and then swear them to secrecy so they couldn’t talk about it anymore.

A panel of civil servants recently issued a report that concluded that foreign efforts had interfered, but none of them affected the outcome of the election.

“We have known for a long time, as an independent report confirmed again last week, that the Chinese government, and other regimes such as Iran and Russia, have tried to prevent not only in our democracy, but in our country in general, whether it’s our institutions, our businesses, our research facilities, or in the daily lives of our citizens,” Trudeau said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, meanwhile, said Monday they are investigating possible violations of the Information Security Act in relation to recent media reports of allegations of foreign interference in the two elections. finally federal.

Daniel Béland, a professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal, said that appointing a special investigator is a clear attempt to buy time.

“The fact that he hasn’t ruled out a specific public inquiry that could indicate that this is now a real possibility, even if such an inquiry would appear to be a dangerous Pandora’s box politically for Trudeau’s Liberals,” said Béland.

“It really depends on what is discovered in the coming weeks and months but the whole situation is turning into a major political challenge for the Liberals that is unlikely to go away anytime soon .”

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