Canada’s Trudeau orders investigation into China election allegations | Politics News

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a review of foreign interference in his country’s elections and will appoint a special independent investigator to look into allegations of anti-Chinese in Canadian polls .

Trudeau has come under pressure to act amid Canadian media reports, citing anonymous sources, detailing alleged schemes run by China to influence Canadian elections there. in 2021 and 2019.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last month that China would prefer to see Trudeau’s Liberals re-elected in the 2021 election and that they had worked to defeat Conservative politics that were considered unfriendly to Beijing. The opposition parties have called for a full public inquiry.

“Today, we are taking additional steps to protect our democratic institutions, to protect their integrity, and to maintain and strengthen confidence in our democracy. We will always accept foreign efforts to seriously undermine our democracy,” Trudeau said in a statement on Monday.

The Prime Minister said he had asked legislators in parliament’s national security committee to launch an investigation to assess the “situation of foreign interference” in the country’s federal election process.

Trudeau also said he would appoint an “eminent Canadian” who would have powers to make recommendations about “protecting and enhancing” democracy in Canada, including holding a public inquiry or other formal independent review process. .

Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Review Group will also investigate how the country’s intelligence services handled the threat of foreign interference during the elections and report their findings to Parliament.

“Together, these steps will give us a better understanding of what happened in the last two elections, how foreign governments tried to interfere, how Canadian security agencies responded to the threat of interference and how the information was flowing throughout the government,” said the Prime Minister. he said in a press release.

Trudeau and Canada’s top security officials have acknowledged attempts to intervene in China but insist the election results have not been changed. They have not confirmed the details of the media reports.

Trudeau also raised “serious concerns” about China’s election ban with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) meeting in Indonesia in November.

“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

He said “all the political leaders agree that foreign interference did not affect the election results in 2019, and in 2021. But even if it did not change the results of our elections, any attempt to interfere, with any foreign actor, concerned and serious. “

China denies all allegations of election interference, saying it has no interest in meddling in Canada’s internal affairs.

Canada’s opposition Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre earlier on Monday criticized the idea that a parliamentary committee was involved in the investigation. He said that would only mean that officials would “give opposing legislators some information and then swear them to secrecy so they couldn’t talk about it anymore. Effectively, that would be a trick to try to prevent anyone from discussing the subject.”

Despite sparring with Chinese President Xi Jinping on many issues, Trudeau’s Liberal government is seen as open to doing business with China, while the Conservatives are known to take take a tougher stance against Beijing.

The allegations of covert Chinese schemes to meddle in Canadian affairs have added another layer of complexity to strained diplomatic relations between Canada and China.

Tensions between the countries rose in late 2018 when Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, and then Beijing arrested two Canadians on espionage charges. All three were released in 2021.

Earlier Monday, Canadian police said they were investigating media reports that cited classified information for possible violations of information security laws. Canada’s intelligence agency is also investigating the leaking of classified information to news organizations.

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