Trudeau asks national security committee for new interference probe

By Cormac Mac Sweeney, Michael Talbot and The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking MPs and senators on Parliament’s national security committee to launch a new investigation into foreign interference in Canada.

Two Liberal sources, who were granted anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, confirm to The Canadian Press that Trudeau will announce the news on Parliament Hill later today.

The development comes on the heels of a new poll released earlier Monday that found the majority of Canadians believe foreign governments have influenced our elections and they want the issue independently investigated with new laws put in place to stamp it out.

The poll by Research Co. found that almost three-in-five Canadians think foreign governments have influenced federal elections in this century, with China and Russia the top suspected influencers.

The survey found that almost two thirds of Canadians (64 per cent) “support calling an independent inquiry into foreign interference on electoral processes in Canada, while 21 per cent are opposed and 15 per cent are undecided.”

Recent media reports citing leaks from national security sources have alleged China tried to meddle in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

That prompted new scrutiny of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP), a panel that monitored foreign interference in those elections.

RELATED: Foreign interference protocol worked well in 2021 election, report says

Trudeau initially seemed to argue against an inquiry, saying the CEIPP concluded that attempts to influence Canadian elections did not ultimately affect their final outcomes.

It appears he has changed his tune.

President of Research Co., Mario Canseco told CityNews on Monday it’s clear Canadians want the issue looked into further.

“We have more than 60 per cent of Canadians who believe that this (an inquiry) is something that should be entertained,” he said.

“What is fascinating about the numbers is we don’t see a lot of changes depending on which party you supported in the 2021 federal election,” he said.

“Conservatives, New Democrats and Liberals all believe that this is the right way to go.”

RELATED: Trudeau defends MP’s loyalty to Canada after reports of alleged Chinese interference

Not only do most polled Canadians want an inquiry, but 7-in-10 say they want to beef up Canada’s laws to something like we see in Australia, where there is a registry of foreign agents and criminal charges for those who covertly work to influence democracy on behalf of a foreign government.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told a radio program on the weekend that he is not ruling out the option of making an independent inquiry a condition of his party’s continued support for the Liberals.

Poll Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from February 26 to February 28, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability – is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today