(Ottawa) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accuses the Conservative Party of descending into unbridled partisanship by harshly attacking the credibility of former Governor General David Johnston, to whom he has given the mandate to look into allegations of interference by the China in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
While in Guelph on Friday, where he announced details of a federal fund to accelerate the construction of affordable housing, Mr. Trudeau vigorously defended the roadmap of Mr. Johnston, who will act as independent special rapporteur on the foreign interference.
In this capacity, Mr. Johnston will have the task of examining the secret documents of the security agencies on this affair, and may also recommend to the Trudeau government to hold a public inquiry into this delicate question if he deems it appropriate.
The Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois have sharply criticized Mr. Johnston’s appointment, arguing in particular that the ties of friendship between him and the Trudeau family could cast doubt on his impartiality. Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre also noted that Mr. Johnston, who was appointed Governor General by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is a member of the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Foundation.
“What the Conservative Party is doing now is undermining the credibility of our institutions, and it’s doing China’s and Russia’s job in a way better than they could have wanted to. themselves, “said Mr. Trudeau in a press briefing.
“David Johnston has served this country in many different ways throughout an impeccable career. He was our Governor General, he served in many capacities with integrity. When we are looking for someone who will always put the country first and put the interests of Canadians at the heart of everything he does, there is no better name than David Johnston,” added the Prime Minister.
He later accused the Tories of engaging in “horrendous partisan attacks” against a man of “extraordinary integrity”.
“If anyone needed a very clear illustration that partisanship matters more to Conservatives, the completely baseless attacks on David Johnston are proof of that,” he argued.
The Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP continue to demand an independent public inquiry into allegations of Chinese interference in the federal election. In recent weeks, The Globe and Mail has reported that China has used sophisticated strategies to secure the election of a minority Liberal government and the defeat of some conservative candidates deemed hostile to the communist regime in Beijing during the last ballot.
The Conservative Party estimates that at least eight of its candidates were defeated in the 2021 federal election due to a disinformation campaign waged on social media such as WeChat.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau confirmed Mr. Johnston’s appointment as special rapporteur. Its mandate will be to examine “the consequences of foreign interference in the last two federal general elections” and to “provide expert recommendations on how to better protect our democracy.” At the end of this exercise, the government will respect the recommendations of the former governor general, which could include “a formal investigation, judicial review or other independent review process, and will implement them”, he said. – we let you know on Wednesday.
The principal concerned, David Johnston, said in a statement to La Presse that he intends to announce the outlines of his investigation “quickly”.
“Any attempt to undermine our democracy is a serious matter and it is essential that we take action to protect our institutions and maintain the confidence of Canadians in our democracy. I am privileged to accept the appointment of Independent Special Rapporteur to help protect the integrity of Canadian democracy,” he said in his statement.
“I will work with officials to finalize the terms of reference, which will be released soon, to review foreign interference in the last two federal general elections and make appropriate recommendations on how to further protect our democracy and maintain the confidence of Canadians in him,” he added in his statement, which was released by the Privy Council Office.