The defence of our democratic institutions should be paramount in the mind of every political leader in Canada. The recent revelations about systematic foreign interference by a foreign state in our elections are disturbing. That is why, this week, I believe it is imperative I address this issue.
For some background: we have learned over the last number of weeks that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard from Canada’s intelligence officials in briefings about the various ways the Communist Dictatorship in Beijing worked to influence both the 2019 and 2021 elections. On this front, the Prime Minister and his top officials have denied any knowledge of this.
The Prime Minister has faced a growing body of evidence that he knew about it happening and covered it up. And according to reports, this interference benefited the Liberals and resulted in the desired outcome of a “Liberal minority government.” Canadians have a right to know the truth, and Conservatives have been joined by all other opposition parties to demand answers, create an independent inquiry, and have those who received the briefings in question (including the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff) be called to testify. Yet, the Prime Minister and the Liberals’ response has been to obstruct, deny, label those who ask questions as racists, and then appoint a so-called “special rapporteur” whose mandate and findings will be shrouded in secrecy.
Conservatives are committed to getting to the bottom of this election interference, including supporting a truly independent public inquiry. Conservative conditions for a truly independent inquiry are included in the Conservative amendments adopted as part of the committee motion calling for a public inquiry:
The person heading this public inquiry must be agreed upon by the House leaders of all the officially recognized parties in the House of Commons.
The establishment of a public inquiry should not interfere with the current and continued efforts of the Procedure and House Affairs Committee and the Ethics Committee (of which I am a part)– including the calling of witnesses and production documents.
The public inquiry must also investigate abuse of diaspora groups by foreign governments.
Further, Conservatives have also asked that we establish a foreign agent registry so Canadians can see when and who was involved in perpetrating this alleged interference.
The fact this happened is a problem, and what’s worse is the Liberals seemingly knew about it and did nothing. And what makes matters worse is it’s the Communist dictatorship in Beijing that commits atrocities against minority populations, regularly attacks dissidents, and is one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The very thought that this is the same entity that is encroaching on our elections is mortifying. And with a minority Parliament, Canada could be thrown into another federal election at any time, and these recent revelations show that foreign interference could continue to jeopardize the integrity of Canada’s electoral process.
We need to respect the situation for what it is. As Canadians and as Parliamentarians, my Conservative colleagues and I take seriously the need to protect and bolster our democracy. I’m disappointed that the Prime Minister and the Liberals refuse to acknowledge their failures, take the action that’s needed, and work to rebuild the trust that has been broken.