Trudeau will not launch inquiry into allegations of Chinese election interference

Johnston squashed calls for a public inquiry into the issue of foreign election interference.


The man Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed as the "special rapporteur" for Chinese election interference has squashed calls for a public inquiry into the issue.

David Johnston, former governor general and ex-member of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, said Tuesday that he would instead stage "a series of public hearings with Canadians" to illuminate the "problem of foreign interference" and ensure both the public and lawmakers are aware of this threat.


"Foreign governments are undoubtedly attempting to influence candidates and voters in Canada," Johnston wrote in his first report, released Tuesday. "Much has been done already, but considerably more remains to be done to strengthen our capacity to resist foreign interference."

The decision was rejected by the Official Opposition Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois. The NDP, who hold on to a loose coalition with the Liberals, remain committed to a public inquiry, though leader Jagmeet Singh did not dismiss Johnston's report wholesale.

Reporters continued to pepper Trudeau with questions Wednesday on whether he would overrule Johnston's advice and create a public inquiry, an option he made clear was not on the table.

Trudeau reacted angrily to one reporter’s question about how he was going to “build trust” with Canadians, given that Liberal MPs in the Greater Toronto Area apparently benefited from Chinese interference.

Trudeau claimed he had always been attuned to the danger of foreign interference and suggested reporters had not been covering the story. 

"Maybe you're just waking up to the fact that there's foreign interference but I've been talking about it for years," the Prime Minister said. "What Mr Johnson laid out in this report is all the mechanisms we have to use, how they're working and where we need to improve particularly in terms of flows of information."

Conservative MP Michael Cooper, who sits on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that demanded a public inquiry into China, told The Post Millennial that the prime minister can't hide behind David Johnston – an old friend and confidant of the Trudeau family. 

"David Johnson has zero credibility," Cooper said, noting that the Ottawa insider was "appointed as special rapporteur for one reason and one reason alone: to cover up for Justin Trudeau."

Cooper laughed at Trudeau's claims that he had been acutely monitoring Chinese election interference, suggesting that the prime minister "had been briefed on it for years but turned a blind eye to it because it benefited the Liberal Party."

The MP went on to predict that few Canadians would be willing to accept Johnston's recommendations.

"Mr. Johnson, in the face of overwhelming evidence of Beijing's interference, has recommended against a public inquiry; it's disgraceful but it's not surprising. It was evident all along that he is compromised. He should never have accepted the role."

Cooper suggested that there is one honorable path for Johnston to take, to "just get out of the way and resign."

"If he cares about our democracy," Cooper added, "he should call an independent inquiry ... This issue is not going away just because David Johnson wants it to go away,."

Cooper said he believes there is support to force the government to agree to a public inquiry because "Jagmeet Singh is maintaining his position that there needs to be one."


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