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MP Michael Chong asks Justice Hogue not to rush her conclusions

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Conservative MP Michael Chong

Jim Bronskill – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published yesterday at 7:54 p.m.

  • Canada

Conservative MP Michael Chong asks that the federal commission of inquiry refrain from drawing definitive conclusions immediately on the integrity of the last two ballots, believing that it is too early to do so.

The federal commission of inquiry, chaired by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, of the Quebec Court of Appeal, recently concluded its public hearings on possible foreign interference from China, India, Russia and other countries in the 2019 and 2021 general elections. Its first report is due on May 3 — in just over two weeks.

MP Chong's written submissions to the committee, made public Wednesday, are among 18 submissions from various speakers to the hearings. These briefs distill positions from the testimony heard to date and make recommendations to Judge Hogue as she prepares her progress report.

MP Chong affirms that the judge can now draw certain general conclusions, in particular on possible Chinese interference of which he himself would have been the target.

But on the question of the integrity of the 2019 and 2021 general elections, Mr. Chong says the commission needs to hear more testimony from members of cultural communities about their experiences during these election campaigns. He believes that these testimonies could have a significant impact on the conclusions of the commission of inquiry.

Mr. Chong also suggested that Judge Hogue first hear from two intelligence watchdog agencies, which are conducting their own reviews into possible foreign interference in federal election processes.

The Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence submitted its Special Report to cabinet last March on foreign interference in Canada's democratic processes and institutions. A “declassified” version must be tabled within 30 sitting days of Parliament.

In addition, the National Security and Intelligence Review Office, an external and independent review body, also provided a classified report to the government. He is preparing a version which will be tabled in Parliament.

It is unknown whether Judge Hogue had access to the findings of these two oversight bodies.

China interference

The Ontario MP believes that the conclusions of the commission on election integrity, as well as the recommendations arising from the first phase of its work, should appear in its final report, expected by the end of the year, and not in its progress report on May 3.

“No recommendations can or should be made in his interim report,” his observations read.

Mr. Chong believes, however, that the commission can and should conclude in its first report that China was the most sophisticated and active threat agent of foreign interference in both elections, and that the Conservative Party was the primary target of disinformation from Beijing.

During ten days of public hearings, the investigation found that China and other state actors attempted to interfere in federal election processes, but there was little evidence indicating whether these efforts had yielded results.

In its written submissions, the New Democratic Party calls for changes to ensure that political parties receive ongoing, timely information about any interference.

The NDP also suggests giving each political party a personalized briefing on foreign interference before each general or by-election.

In its submission to the commission, the federal government asserts that Canada was well positioned to detect foreign interference activities in the 2019 and 2021 elections, and to act if necessary.< /p>

None of these activities “threatened the integrity or impacted the outcome of these elections, either nationally or at the constituency level,” maintains the government.

Awareness of the risk posed by threat actors has been heightened through timely communications between the government and elected officials, political parties, members of the diaspora and the general public, adds the federal government.

Nevertheless, the federal submission indicates that the government will welcome recommendations aimed at strengthening its mechanisms and responses. “There’s always room for improvement. »

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