(OTTAWA) New Democrats on Thursday praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s choice of newly appointed Special Rapporteur David Johnston to examine allegations of Chinese interference in Canada’s last two federal elections, as the Conservatives and Bloc members attacked his credibility even more vigorously.
“He is independent and non-partisan with a good reputation,” New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh insisted at a press briefing in Toronto.
Singh, however, declined to comment on whether he will necessarily accept the former governor general’s conclusions in this context. “We need a public inquiry and I hope Mr. Johnston will launch a public inquiry to restore confidence in our electoral system,” he said.
However, Mr. Johnston was described by Prime Minister Trudeau as “a friend of the family”, supported in turn the leaders of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, and the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet.
And to keep up the pressure, the Conservatives have launched a petition calling on them to “listen to the will of Canadians” and set up “an independent and open public inquiry”, as unanimously demanded by the opposition parties which have a majority. in the House of Commons.
“A secret commission, with evidence kept secret, and findings secret, with a hand-picked liberal as ‘special rapporteur'” will “never” reveal the truth, it also reads.
On Twitter, the Conservative leader also criticized the new special rapporteur for being “a member of the Beijing-funded Trudeau Foundation”.
In a scrum in parliament, the Bloc leader said Mr. Johnston “did not have an admiration for the Chinese regime”, having said that he “felt at home” during a trip in China. “We’re going ‘chummy chummy'”, illustrated Mr. Blanchet during a press scrum.
Contrary to what the Prime Minister’s Office implied when announcing the appointment, both the Bloc and the NDP said they were not actually consulted in choosing Mr. Johnston.
They claimed the government did not provide a list of names. “I didn’t hear Mr. Johnston’s name until yesterday afternoon” at the time of the announcement, the Bloc leader said.
Their parties, however, this week declined a request from the Prime Minister’s Office to suggest names of people to fill the post.
The Trudeau government is committed to respecting the recommendations of the special rapporteur. These could include, it says, “a formal investigation, judicial review, or other independent review process.”
Mr. Johnston served as Governor General from 2010 to 2017. He is currently Commissioner of Leaders’ Debates, a position he will be leaving due to his appointment as Special Rapporteur.