The Washington Post

Trudeau orders probe of China role in election

- — Amanda Coletta

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that he would appoint an independen­t special rapporteur and order a committee of lawmakers with top-secret security clearance to probe foreign interferen­ce in Canada’s elections, amid criticism that his government is failing to take the issue seriously.

Intelligen­ce agencies have long reported that foreign powers, including China and Russia, have sought to interfere in elections in Canada. But the matter has drawn renewed scrutiny in recent weeks after media reports about Chinese attempts to interfere in federal elections in 2019 and 2021.

The announceme­nt marked a shift for Trudeau, who for weeks has defended his government’s handling of foreign election interferen­ce and has described the media reports as riddled with unspecifie­d “inaccuraci­es.” But it fell short of the full public inquiry that opposition lawmakers had been calling for.

Trudeau said that the National Security and Intelligen­ce Committee of Parliament­arians would study the alleged interferen­ce and issue a report.

The Globe and Mail, citing anonymous intelligen­ce sources and intelligen­ce documents from the Canadian Security Intelligen­ce Service, reported last month that Beijing had employed “a sophistica­ted strategy” in the 2021 federal election to disrupt elections with the aim of reelecting Trudeau’s Liberals and defeating specific Conservati­ve candidates it considered hostile to China.

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