Politics Briefing: Johnston won’t be dissuaded from completing assignment on foreign interference
Next phase to include hearings with the public, government officials and experts David Johnston, the independent special rapporteur on foreign interference, has concluded that despite identifying serious shortcomings in the way we respond to foreign interference in Canada's national security infrastructure, the work is not done. He is now going on to the next phase of his work ahead of the end of his mandate in October, holding hearings with the public, government officials and experts to address the governance and organizational gaps in Canada. A report from the Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase report here that leaders of Canadian activist and religious groups targeted by Beijing are calling for a public inquiry into foreign interference. This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey, and subscribers can sign up for the newsletter and more than 20 others on its signup page. Have any feedback?
Published : 2 weeks ago by Ian Bailey in Politics
David Johnston says he is not going anywhere but onwards to finish his assignment assessing foreign election interference.
“While I identified serious shortcomings in the way we respond to foreign interference, the work is not done,” the independent special rapporteur on foreign interference said in a column here published Friday by The Globe and Mail.
“And I will not be dissuaded from completing it. That is the job I undertook, and I feel obligated to complete it to the highest possible standard. Then I will leave it to Canadians to judge this contribution to safeguarding our democracy.”
Mr. Johnston is now going on to the next phase of his work ahead of the end of his mandate in October, holding hearings with the public, government officials and experts to address the governance and organizational gaps in Canada’s national security infrastructure.
After two months of work, the former governor-general released a report Tuesday that ruled out a public inquiry into concerns about Chinese government interference in Canadian politics.
Mr. Johnston has concluded that because intelligence about Beijing’s activities is highly classified, it could never be openly discussed with Canadians in a public inquiry.
However, Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase report here that leaders of Canadian activist and religious groups targeted by Beijing are calling for a public inquiry into foreign interference, saying it isn’t enough for Mr. Johnston to hold his hearings to listen to their concerns about China’s efforts to silence their criticism.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
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THIS AND THAT
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Ken Boessenkool (The Line) on why he won’t vote in the Alberta election: “I am entirely comfortable with Albertans making this choice for me – a choice they will make; and a choice I will live with. In part, this is because my love for Alberta includes a love for its people. Even, perhaps especially, people I disagree with. Notwithstanding my views on the current election, I have many friends on all sides of the political aisle. They are all Albertans. In part, this is because, as a conservative, I don’t believe that who is in our government, or what our government does, is actually the most important thing in my life.”
Naheed Nenshi (CTV) on why he is lending his vote in the Alberta election to Rachel Notley and the provincial NDP: ”Now Calgary must find the money to revamp our winter sports facilities, without an Olympics at the end. (Ironically, this was mainly a result of how much Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn’t stand each other, and their staff could not abide giving the other a victory. I was in the room for some of this, and I always smile when I hear conservatives talk about the Notley-Trudeau alliance, having seen the truth).”
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s alliance with the Liberals: ”NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will ‘use all our tools’ to push for an independent public inquiry into China’s election meddling. He should reach for the one closest at hand: scrapping his parliamentary alliance with the Liberals, as a clear warning to the government that it cannot continue to ignore the will of Parliament.”
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Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how David Johnston’s tragedy has become ours: ”It has been painful to watch Mr. Johnston, a heretofore model Canadian with an unimpeachable record, twist himself in knots trying to dissociate himself from Justin Trudeau, as if their previous encounters were mere coincidences that have no bearing on his personal feelings for the man. It is even worse to see him drag a former Supreme Court justice (who is also his friend) into the mix to try to back him up. Whether or not his relationship with Mr. Trudeau meets the legal definition of a conflict of interest, Mr. Johnston should understand that enough Canadians have serious reservations about his impartiality to undermine the very trust in our institutions that he himself has deemed essential to our democracy.”
Lloyd Axworthy, Allan Rock, Chantal Yelu Mulop (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can make a decisive difference in ending violence by men against women: ”At the recent Global Citizen NOW conference in New York, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the need to reverse the backsliding of progress on women’s rights around the globe. He stressed the importance of women’s leadership, the equal roles women should have in society, and the urgent need for the world to recognize and listen to women. But one of the most pervasive examples of withering women’s rights – which are simply, of course, human rights – is the appalling incidence worldwide of violence by men against women and girls.”
Brian Lee Crowley (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, inquiry or not, foreign interference in Canada’s elections is part of a new Cold War that we cannot hide from: ”Chinese election interference is a hot topic in Canada. Yet, while it is indeed a matter of enormous importance, its real significance can only be understood in the context of the new Cold War against the West. This conflict is one in which China and Russia have long been engaged, while here at home our bien-pensant elites have continuously warned against us adopting a supposedly outdated ‘Cold War mentality.’ The only ones who are out of date, however, are those whose understanding of recent history ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the ‘end of history,’ in which the values of liberal democracy and the West reign undisputed forever and ever.”
Shachi Kurl (The Ottawa Citizen) on how, thanks to Pierre Poilievre and Justin Trudeau, it’s unlikely we’ll ever unravel the election-meddling mess: ”The two men most likely to face off in the next federal election have so irrevocably politicized the process that, at this point, sober examination of the issue itself is no longer possible, the need for confidentiality notwithstanding. It will linger as a bitter aftertaste many Canadians would prefer to just wash away.”
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