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Hogue Commission to investigate lawmakers suspected of interference

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec Marie-Josée Hogue

It is now up to the judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec Marie-Josée Hogue to decide what more can be said about federal parliamentarians who have collaborated with foreign states, announced the commission she heads on Monday.

The Hogue commission sets itself the task of “shedding light on the facts and events mentioned in the report of the CPSNR [Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence] regarding the role that certain parliamentarians would have played, knowingly or not, in activities of foreign interference”, specifies a press release.

Its mandate does not need to be expanded, it is written, since it already includes document any interference affecting “directly or indirectly Canada's democratic processes.”

The Trudeau government lined up last week behind the Bloc Québécois' proposal to leave the commission independent decide on the relevance of making public the identity of deputies or senators suspected of foreign interference by the intelligence services.

The leader of the Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May, has speculated that current elected officials in Ottawa may have been simply “stupid” in accepting foreign government assistance upon their appointment. She tried on Monday to reconcile her reading of an unredacted report with that, at times contradictory, made by Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

Only these two opposition elected officials have so far had the opportunity to read the full version of a report, written by their peers, which included the shattering revelation according to which parliamentarians “helped knowingly” foreign state actors.

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  • It is up to Judge Hogue to reveal, or not, the list of parliamentarians suspected of interference
  • MPs in Ottawa 'knowingly aided' foreign state actors

“Stupid, unethical, idiotic… you can use several words to describe someone who allows a person to come and help you with your nomination […] without asking questions,” the leader of the fifth party mentioned at a press briefing in the Commons.

She maintained her reading of the report, according to which no current elected official has betrayed their country by actively collaborating with a foreign government in an interference operation and that only a handful of elected officials currently serving would be targeted by less serious allegations. Allegations would also affect provincial and municipal politicians, as well as candidates in party leadership races, notably in the Conservative Party of Canada.

Mr. Singh said he was much more concerned when he read the unredacted version of the report. He reaffirmed that a “certain number” of federal MPs would definitely have “knowingly aided” foreign governments, but his office then clarified that he was not necessarily talking about MPs currently sitting in Parliament.

While in Switzerland on Sunday, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, alluded to the fact that these two party leaders drew different conclusions from the same report to demonstrate that the committee of parliamentarians on national security may also have made errors of assessment on the subject of foreign interference.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, has taken steps to also obtain the security clearance necessary to read the report. The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, has not shown such an intention until now.

The Hogue commission specifies that it has access to all the information secret on which the committee of parliamentarians on national security based itself. In a preliminary report in May, Justice Hogue concluded that foreign interference tainted nomination races, and thus undermined public confidence in democratic institutions. Its final report is expected by December 31, 2024.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116