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LeBlanc accuses Conservatives of playing theater with interference report

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press Federal Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc

Jim Bronskill – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published on June 6

  • Canada

The federal Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc, accuses Conservative MPs of playing theater when they press the government to disclose the names of MPs who allegedly participated in foreign interference activities.

A parliamentary intelligence oversight committee concluded in a report released this week that “certain MPs” had “knowingly assisted” “foreign state actors” to interfere in Canadian politics.

This shock report has raised concerns that lawmakers allegedly involved in foreign interference activities may still be in active politics. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre asked the Liberal government on Wednesday to disclose the identity of these elected officials.

The Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Public Security and National Security Commons contested Thursday Minister LeBlanc's explanations regarding the government's refusal to reveal their identity.

“Do you believe that Canadians have the right to know, yes or no?” Conservative MP Frank Caputo asked the minister.

The Minister of Security Public and Democratic Institutions, which is therefore responsible for investigations into foreign interference, reiterated Thursday that intelligence service reports could contain unverified information that did not provide a complete picture of the situation.

“A single piece of the puzzle, an intelligence source or piece of information, may have no context, may be discredited or altered by subsequent information,” he said. he argued. So the idea that there is a perfect, completely reliable list of names that should be made public is simply irresponsible. »

Mr. LeBlanc also clarified that it was up to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate and lay charges if warranted, because that is how things work in a democracy based on the rule of law.

He also added that Congressman Caputo was engaging in bad theater.

Also read

  • National Security Committee can't say more about foreign interference
  • Brossard supports the request for an investigation into foreign interference in Quebec
  • Liberals table anti-foreign interference bill

Worried organisms

The tough discussions took place as committee members met Thursday to hear Minister LeBlanc and other witnesses on a vast government bill aimed precisely at countering foreign interference.

Bill C-70, tabled in the House early last month, includes various measures aimed at deterring, investigating and punishing foreign interference.

< p>It contains new criminal provisions against “deceptive or surreptitious acts”, would allow broader sharing of sensitive information and would establish a “registry aimed at transparency in matters of foreign influence”.

The committee maintains that its members must present proposed amendments to the bill by Friday afternoon, in preparation for clause-by-clause study early next week.

In a letter to the committee Thursday, 14 civil society organizations expressed “deep concerns” that lawmakers are wrapping up hearings on the bill after only about a week.

Organizations have warned that the unusually rapid parliamentary review of Bill C-70 could result in flawed legislation that violates the fundamental rights of Canadians.

The letter was signed in particular by the League of Rights and Freedoms, the English-speaking Canadian section of Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of University Professors, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Public Affairs Council Muslims and the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

“We recognize the importance of combating harassment, threats and violence against people, including when carried out by foreign governments in order to repress the exercise of fundamental rights or engagement in democratic processes,” reads -on in the joint letter.

“However, the changes proposed by C-70 go much further. If passed, this bill would make significant changes to Canada's national security, intelligence and criminal justice systems, in addition to creating a registry of foreign influence of considerable, if uncertain, scope. »

As a result, the bill will have significant impacts on the lives and fundamental rights of Canadians, “including risks of increased surveillance, diminished privacy, limits on freedom of expression and freedom of association, racial, religious and political profiling, and undermining due process in the courts through the use of secret ‘evidence,’” the letter adds.

“The result is that organizations and individuals who may have requested to appear or submitted written submissions will not be able to do so in such a short time frame. Developing specific amendments to propose by Friday’s deadline is nearly impossible.”

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