Canada is in the midst of what could become a Constitutional crisis as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to sink into the abyss of an election interference scandal that is both ironic and staggering.
In some explosive reporting, both The Globe and Mail and Global News are reporting that China effectively bought a Liberal minority government in 2021 by financing Liberal candidates and defeating Conservative ones.
And it’s all based on secret and top-secret reports from Canada’s intelligence service. Unlike the US, where there are 13 separate intelligence-gathering agencies, Canada only has two: the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [CSIS] and the Canadian Armed Forces.
It’s ironic because the interference is all coming from China, a country that Trudeau once infamously declared to be his “most admired country” outside of Canada, that “basic dictatorship” that could “turn its economy around on a dime.”
China can also apparently turn Canadian elections around on a dime – or a least a lot of dimes – and the revelation that Bejing could have bought a minority government for Trudeau in 2021 has turned Trudeau’s life and political insouciance around.
Last week the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedures and House Affairs (PROC) voted six to five to demand a public inquiry into China’s election interference. The motion is not binding on the Liberal government but the next step would be a vote in the House of Commons to establish a public inquiry – something Trudeau has already said he doesn’t want. On Tuesday Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre accused Trudeau of selling out to the Chinese for refusing to submit to full transparency.
It’s not that Trudeau is doing nothing. Actually, he’s in a frenetic mood that seems more rooted in deep anxiety than high energy. He’s naming committees and commissions that are supposed to appease his nervous caucus and cabinet who are worried that Trudeau has lost control of the scandal and convince the public that the prime minister really wants to get to the truth.
So there was Trudeau at a Monday news conference, where he said that he will immediately create something called an “independent special rapporteur” and task the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to assess foreign attempts to interfere in elections and report its findings and recommendations.
The group would then be authorized to review the classified evaluation of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol, a panel of senior bureaucrats tasked with telling Canadians of any irregularities that affected the 2021 election.
But the problem is all of these groups will be meeting in secrecy and reporting directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
MP Michael Cooper (CPC-St. Albert-Edmonton) told me on Monday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is creating “a smokescreen” in asking for an "independent special rapporteur," to examine China’s political interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
“It is a complete smokescreen,” Cooper, a Conservative member of the PROC committee, said. “It is the opposite of what CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] has called on the prime minister to do in the face of interference and that is to provide sunshine and transparency and what he wants to do is hurry it in a committee that meets behind closed doors.”
Trudeau is attempting to look like he’s creating an open process without actually doing so. Any reports produced by these groups will be subject to redaction by the PMO.
There’s no doubt that Trudeau is doing his best to look concerned, something the usually detached prime minister has difficulty doing, despite a $5.5 million investment to fight "disinformation." He initially dismissed the Chinese interference story and actually had the gall to suggest it was being driven by “anti-Asian racism” that Trudeau insisted was accelerated by reports that the COVID-19 pandemic came from a Wuhan laboratory.
Trudeau has also threatened to punish the source who revealed the extent of Chinese meddling. Instead of championing the whistleblower who alerted the media about Chinese interference, Trudeau told reporters last month that he wants CSIS to hunt down the person or persons unknown.
In testimony last Friday, Privy Council Office National Security Advisor Jody Thomas told the PROC committee that Trudeau had been briefed “multiple times” about Chinese subversion but the prime minister apparently did nothing.
Cooper described said Trudeau “has obstructed, deflected, and refused to cooperate.”
He’s also concerned that Trudeau will appoint a friend or another former CEO of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, who was asked to review the integrity of the 2021 election. The Trudeau Foundation actually promised to erect a statue of Chinese tyrant Mao Zedong in Montreal in return for a $1 million donation that was split between them and the University of Montreal, where the statue of Mao was planned to stand next to one of the late Pierre Trudeau.
Cooper is adamant that the PROC committee will not be subsumed or replaced by any public inquiry because while the committee is working quickly, a public inquiry can drag on for years.
He says Canada needs answers “not in six months but now.”
“We know what has happened it’s a question of the extent that it happened.”