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07/03/2023 | Canadian parliament pressures government to investigate Chinese election meddling

Joseph Fitsanakis

A KEY COMMITTEE IN the Parliament of Canada passed a motion late last week that calls on the government to investigate allegations of foreign interference in the country’s general elections. Last Thursday’s vote by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs came soon after its members attended closed-door testimony by senior intelligence officials, which touched on various topics relating to the national security of Canada.

 

The motion specifically mentioned recent testimony by David Vigneault, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which is Canada’s primary national intelligence agency. Vigneault told the Procedure and House Affairs Committee that there had been no major efforts by foreign powers to interfere in Canadian elections in 2019 and 2021. As a result, the integrity of the election processes and results had not been compromised, Vigneault said.

However, the CSIS director added that an investigation had been launched into allegations that China carried out concerted efforts to meddle in these elections. Vigneault was referring to a series of media reports in the past year, which have alleged that China employed its embassy in Ottawa, as well as its network of consulates across China, to carry out a campaign of interference into Canadian political life, and election campaigns in particular. Much of the momentum behind these allegations comes from the opposition Conservative Party of Canada. Some senior Conservative officials have explained their electoral defeat by the ruling Liberal Party as a result of Chinese interference.

All five Liberal Party lawmakers in the Procedure and House Affairs Committee voted against the motion to launch a broad public inquiry into alleged Chinese electoral interference. However, they were outnumbered by the six opposition lawmakers, who united in voting for the motion. The motion is not binding. However, as a report in the Reuters news agency notes, it places pressure on the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address these concerns. Trudeau has acknowledged that China did try to interfere in the Canadian general elections, but has insisted that the election results were not affected by these efforts.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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