An independent special rapporteur will look into claims of Chinese intervention in Canada’s most recent elections, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The designated investigator will evaluate classified documents pertaining to the federal elections of 2019 and 2021 and will provide suggestions for future elections.
Political party rivals have requested a public investigation.
China has denied any electoral involvement, calling the charges “purely unfounded and slanderous”.
The reports questioning Canada’s “sovereignty,” Mr. Trudeau said in a Monday interview with reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, “strike us to our very core as Canadians” and are startling.
According to Mr. Trudeau, “I will be appointing an impartial special rapporteur, who will have a broad mandate and provide expert recommendations on countering intervention and bolstering our democracy.
He indicated that the nomination of the rapporteur will be announced in the upcoming days but that the person has not yet been selected.
Additionally, Mr. Trudeau declared that he would ask senators and members of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliament (Nsicop) to launch a fresh investigation into election security.
Canada has long been aware of China’s, Iran’s, and Russia’s attempts to meddle in international affairs, he continued.
The nations “have tried to meddle not only in our democracy, but our country in general,” along with a number of other non-state entities.
This issue is not brand-new, he declared.
Why calls for a public investigation are directed at Trudeau
Based on leaks from Canadian intelligence sources, the Globe and Mail newspaper and broadcaster Global News published a number of articles in recent weeks that described purported attempts by China’s Communist Party to meddle in the country’s last two federal elections.
Chinese officials have denounced the reports as “hype” and “completely false and slanderous”.
But not enough to influence the outcome of the election, which Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals won with a 41-seat margin, Conservative politicians have publicly admitted they were aware of involvement in the 2021 race and felt it had lost them many seats.
The results of the federal election in 2021 were unaffected by attempts to influence the vote, according to a federal assessment released this week.
The Conservatives and New Democrats, the federal opposition parties, have been asking for a “independent and public” investigation of the accounts.
In reaction to Mr Trudeau’s announcement, the New Democrats condemned the Nsicop committee review, stating it was not a “acceptable substitute for a public inquiry”.
Foreign actors should not be allowed to act covertly, according to Peter Julian, a New Democrat member of parliament.
In response to criticism, Mr. Trudeau said the rapporteur would have the power to suggest holding a public inquiry.
He declared that “we will follow by their recommendation” and that making the choice was one of the official’s first duties after being hired.
I’m aware that some people don’t think this goes far enough, Mr. Trudeau continued. “What you mean, I understand. We are entrusting someone objective with additional job because of this.”
Separately on Monday, the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that they had started an inquiry into how details of the alleged interference were revealed to Canadian media outlets.
According to a survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute last week, 65% of Canadians think Beijing tried to influence both recent federal moves.
The federal government should take greater action to thwart electoral meddling, according to two-thirds of Canadians.