PM supports Johnston conclusions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he will not overrule former Governor General David Johnston’s decision not to hold an Inquiries Act probe into foreign meddling in Canadian politics. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre reiterated claims that Johnston’s report “was rigged from the start” because Trudeau and Johnston are long-time family friends. [node:read-more:link]

No public inquiry into interference

Former Governor-General David Johnston, the prime minister’s special rapporteur on foreign interference in Canada, is opting for public meetings rather that a formal inquiry. “Foreign governments are undoubtedly attempting to influence candidates and voters,” he said today. [node:read-more:link]

Veil of secrecy over scientists’ firing

Nearly four years after two Chinese researchers were escorted out of Canada’s highest-security laboratory and subsequently fired amidst tight security, it will be up to three retired federal judges to decide how much information will be made public. Former Supreme Court justices Ian Binnie and Marshall Rothstein, and Federal Court of Appeal justice Eleanor Dawson will assist an committee of MPs in reviewing the records. [node:read-more:link]

Poilievre declines Johnston meeting

Former Governor General David Johnston, tasked with looking into foreign interference in Canada, has met with the leaders of the other federal political parties but Conservative Leader Pierre’s office says he has refused. A spokesman says Poilievre considers the inquiry a “fake job” assigned by the Prime Minister to someone is not impartial due to a long-time family friendship with the PM. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS didn’t brief Harper government

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s deputy chief of staff, Jenni Byrne, has told a parliamentary that, as he current administration has insisted, it was not warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about Chinese interference in Canada’s electoral processes. “I can tell you with all certainty that I was never briefed on foreign interference,” she said May 11. [node:read-more:link]

PM’s brother defends donation

Alexandre Trudeau, brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, told a parliamentary ethics committee May 3 that he signed off on a controversial donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation only to permit the University of Montreal permission to use their father’s name. The committee is probing a $200,000 donation by two men with links to the Chinese government but the PM’s brother called the inquiry “a waste of time” because “there is not a foreign interference issue […] at the foundation.” [node:read-more:link]

CSIS to share more information

Responding to reports that China has tried to target Toronto Conservative MP Michael Chong’s family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said May 3 that he has directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to share more information with the government. Chong says he was unaware of the threat but the PM said “CSIS made the determination that it wasn't something that needed be raised to a higher level because it wasn't a significant enough concern.” [node:read-more:link]

China extends polar footprint

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty stipulates that continent could not be used for military purposes, but the evolution of dual-use technologies is raising concerns about China, which has a growing interest in the Arctic, building a fifth Antarctic base which could be used to monitor communications in southern regions. [node:read-more:link]

MP not informed of threat

Ontario Conservative MP, a former cabinet minister and unsuccessful party leadership candidate, says he was not informed by CSIS about potential threats to his family through a Chinese diplomat. Chong, who has been barred from visiting China but has family in Hong Kong, says any attempts to intimidate or coerce people in Canada constitutes a national threat. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign agent registry discussed

The U.S. used a recent visit to Ottawa by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the prospect of a Canadian registry of foreign agents. “We shared some of the practices and laws that we have in place to see if they would be of utility to our partners in Canada,” Mayorkas said during an April 30 broadcast interview. [node:read-more:link]

Seven charged with “malign influence”

Four U.S. citizens and three Russians have been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with conducting a “malign influence campaign” which involved recruiting and funding U.S. political groups to act as “unregistered illegal agents of the Russian government.” [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa not taking security seriously?

More than 60 former sen ior security officials, military commanders and politicians, including five former defence ministers, are pressing the federal government to take security and defence more seriously. Along with a former Supreme Court of Canada judge, they have shared their concerns in a letter released April 17 by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. [node:read-more:link]

Playing politics with national security

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, offered few new insights today on the issue of foreign meddling in Canada’s electoral processes even as documents supplied by National Security Advisor Jody Thomas confirmed there had been high-level briefings over more than four years. Pressed for details and expressing “frustration” about how much detail she could go into, Telford said Trudeau had been “briefed regularly” and “absolutely” read briefs on the issue but this didn’t sit well with Opposition MPs who had sought more specific details. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau in damage control?

Ahead of today’s appearance of his chief of staff, Katie Telford, before a House committee looking into foreign meddling in Canada’s electoral processes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 13 that they had discussed the issue “over many years.” The committee had been trying for weeks to have Telford testify but repeated requests initially were resisted by the PM. [node:read-more:link]


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