(Ottawa) Justin Trudeau assigns former Governor General David Johnston the role of determining whether a public inquiry into foreign interference is necessary.
“David Johnston brings impeccable integrity, a wealth of experience and great skill, and I am confident that he will lead an impartial review to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to preserve our democracy and maintain and strengthen the confidence in him,” the prime minister said in a statement on Wednesday.
His mandate, which will be to examine “the consequences of foreign interference in the last two federal general elections and to make expert recommendations on how to better protect our democracy”, explains the same press release announcing the appointment of former law professor.
And at the end of this exercise, the government will respect the recommendations of the former Governor General, which will be made public. These could include “a formal investigation, judicial review or other independent review process, and will implement them,” it said. The details of the mandate will follow “in the days to come”.
David Johnston’s appointment stems from consultations with all parties in the House of Commons, according to the government statement. The Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party (NDP), however, had signaled Tuesday that they refused to take part in the process, persisting in pleading that the solution was the immediate launch of a public inquiry.
This is the second time that the Liberals have sought the expertise of the one Stephen Harper had chosen as tenant of Rideau Hall: David Johnston is currently Commissioner of Leaders’ Debates, but he will leave this post to take up that of special and independent rapporteur.
If this question is now settled, it is far from being the case of that surrounding the request for the appearance of Katie Telford, Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff.
Liberals who sit on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which is looking into allegations of Chinese interference in the democratic process from 2019 and 2021, continue to disrupt the work of the committee in question.
They have now been using delay tactics for more than 20 hours (non-consecutive) to prevent the appearance of Katie Telford, Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, at the committee table. The liberal maneuvers fuel suspicions of a cover-up.