OTTAWA — An NDP motion to launch a public inquiry into disturbing reports of foreign interference in federal elections has passed — putting the ball squarely in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s court to give the order.
“The reports of foreign interference into certain campaigns during past elections are disturbing. The best way to ensure that foreign agents cannot attempt to manipulate Canadian elections from the shadows is to shine a light into those shadows,” said NDP House Leader Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby). “We fully accept that the results of previous elections were not changed by foreign interference. And the way to guarantee that’s the case for future elections — and to give Canadians confidence in our democracy — is with a thorough, transparent and independent public inquiry.”
The successful vote at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) alone does not launch a public inquiry — the prime minister must give the order under Canada’s Inquiries Act.
“The ball is in Prime Minister Trudeau’s court. He now has a clear message from a committee with representation from all parties. We are urging him to do the right thing, and launch a public inquiry immediately,” said Julian.
The NDP wants a public inquiry not to be constrained only to Chinese interference, but be broad, going where the evidence takes it. The motion was initially tabled by Julian at PROC, following Monday’s call from NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for the public inquiry to be launched.
Motion as passed
That the committee report to the House that it calls on the Government of Canada to launch a national public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic system, including but not limited to allegations of interference in general elections by foreign governments;
That this inquiry be granted all necessary powers to call witnesses from the government and from political parties;
That the inquiry investigates abuse of diaspora groups by hostile foreign governments;
That this inquiry have the power to order and review all documents it deems necessary for this work, including documents which are related to national security;
That the individual heading this inquiry be selected by unanimous agreement by the House Leader’s of the officially recognized parties in the House of Commons;
That this inquiry does not impede or stop the committee’s study on foreign election interference, including the production of documents and calling of witnesses.