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MPs in Ottawa “knowingly aided” foreign state actors

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press The Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence says Canadian spy agencies have produced a body of intelligence that shows foreign actors had relationships with Canadian MPs and senators.

Members of Parliament began “knowingly assisting” foreign state actors shortly after their election, including by sending classified information to Indian officials, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Intelligence reveals.

In a report released Monday, the committee said Canadian spy agencies produced a body of intelligence that showed foreign actors had relationships with Canadian MPs and senators.

< p>He was tasked with assessing foreign interference in federal election processes, including attempted interference in the last two elections.

At a press briefing on Monday, the Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc, refused to comment on the committee's allegations.

“I have great confidence in our national security and intelligence agencies to do the work they do. […] I don’t think it’s helpful to comment on any specific individual allegation,” he told reporters.

The tabling of this report follows by a few weeks that of the Hogue Commission report, which revealed that foreign interference activities may have had an impact on the electoral results of a small number of ridings during the last two federal elections.

Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue, however, specified that these acts had no impact on the election of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Too slow to react

The committee of parliamentarians also accuses Ottawa of having been too slow to react to the activities of foreign interference, such as those of China and India.

Canada's delayed response “represents a serious deficiency that could result in consequences for Canada for many years,” he wrote.

The hundred-page report also notes that the “gaps mean that there are few means to effectively deter foreign states and their proxies established in Canada from carrying out interference activities.”

Minister LeBlanc defended himself by claiming to have implemented a series of measures aimed at combating foreign interference.

“I thinks it is important to remember that when we formed the government in 2015, there were no measures in place to detect disruptions and counter foreign interference in the electoral context,” he said.

However, the examination carried out by the committee also revealed that the reforms introduced by the government in 2018 had failed to act on foreign interference in democratic processes and institutions.

According to committee members, Canada is “only now beginning” to see the implementation of measures to counter these activities.

The government recently introduced Bill C-70, An Act respecting combating foreign interference.

Be careful with diplomats

In its recommendations, the committee warns all elected officials in Ottawa about the possible ethical and judicial consequences of their relationships with foreign representatives.

At the committee on foreign interference, former Liberal MP Han Dong, now an independent, admitted to speaking to a senior Chinese diplomat regarding the arbitrary detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China.

Asked about the instructions that could be sent to MPs, Minister LeBlanc asserts that the government “is not going to legislate or try to manage meetings” between parliamentarians and diplomats, considering that it is perfectly within the right of parliamentarians to meet whoever they want.

The publication of Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue's final report on foreign interference is scheduled for the end of the year.

With Boris Proulx

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