Special prosecutor on elections: Canada is investigating possible interference by China

Status: 07.03.2023 11:55 a.m

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau wants to have China’s influence on past parliamentary elections examined. A special investigator and a committee should help. The media had previously reported on Chinese activities.

In view of increasing political pressure, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now wants to have indications of China’s possible influence on the elections in 2019 and 2021 examined more closely.

The Prime Minister announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to decide whether allegations of interference should be publicly investigated. The rapporteur will make “expert recommendations to combat interference and strengthen our democracy,” Trudeau said on Monday.

He also instructed the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Intelligence to launch an investigation into foreign interference in Canada’s elections.

China is said to have preferred Trudeau victory

In recent weeks, several Canadian media outlets have published reports based on intelligence information that Beijing is said to have interfered in the elections. It was therefore about the secret financing of election campaigns by certain candidates during the parliamentary elections in 2019 and 2021 or participation in them. China dismissed the allegations as “defamatory”.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported in February, citing unnamed intelligence sources, that China had favored a victory for Trudeau’s Liberals in the 2021 election and was working to remove conservative politicians critical of Beijing from parliament.

Trudeau wants to respect the decision

The opposition parties are calling for a full public inquiry. Trudeau declined to do so for the time being and is now leaving that decision to the Special Rapporteur. He announced he would respect the recommendation. All political parties agreed that the 2019 and 2021 election results had not been influenced by foreign interference, the prime minister said.

“But even if the outcome of our elections is unchanged, any attempt at interference by a foreign actor is worrying and serious,” Trudeau said.

Opposition criticizes commission to committee

The leader of the conservative opposition, Pierre Poilievre, has now criticized the assignment to the parliamentary committee. He said this would only result in some information being presented to opposition MPs and then sworn to secrecy. “Basically, that would be a ploy to prevent anyone from talking about the subject.”

A recent report came out which concluded that there had been attempts at foreign interference, but that had no effect on the outcome of the election. “We have known for a long time, and an independent report confirmed this again last week, that the Chinese government and other regimes such as Iran and Russia have tried to interfere not only with our democracy but with our country in general,” Trudeau said.

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