Trudeau to appoint special rapporteur to probe alleged China election interference

Trudeau to appoint special rapporteur to probe alleged China election interference
# 07 March 2023 04:13 (UTC +04:00)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will appoint an independent special rapporteur to investigate alleged Chinese interference in Canadian elections, he said on Monday, and also announced separate new probes into the suspected foreign interference, APA reports citing Reuters.

Canadian media have recently published detailed reports, citing anonymous intelligence sources, alleging schemes run by China to interfere in Canada's elections in 2021 and 2019.

"I will be appointing an independent special rapporteur, who will have a wide mandate and make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening our democracy," Trudeau told reporters in a press briefing.

The rapporteur will be an "eminent Canadian" and will have power to make recommendations on foreign interference including a public inquiry, Trudeau said.

The prime minister also said he asked lawmakers in the parliament's national security committee to launch an investigation into the alleged foreign election interference.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), an intelligence watchdog, will investigate and report its findings to the parliament.

The prime minister also said he will ask another oversight agency, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), to review how national security agencies in Canada handled the alleged foreign interference threat.

"Together, these measures will give us a better understanding of what happened in the last two elections, how foreign governments tried to interfere, how security agencies in Canada responded to the threat of interference and how the information flowed across government," Trudeau said.

Trudeau and Canada's top security officials have acknowledged interference attempts by China, but they insist that election outcomes were not altered. They have not confirmed the media reports.

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

Earlier on Monday, Canadian police said they were investigating the media reports that cited secret intelligence for potential violations of information security laws.

The Security of Information Act, which was previously known as the Official Secrets Act, deals with protecting sensitive government information.

Canada's Deputy Public Safety Minister Shawn Tupper told a parliamentary committee last week that the Canadian police were not investigating any of the allegations of Chinese influence. The police's statement on Monday indicated its investigation is targeted only on the information leaks.

Canada's spy agency is also conducting a probe of how classified information was leaked to news organizations.