Justin Trudeau to follow David Johnston’s plan of no public inquiry into foreign interference
Ottawa/IBNS: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reportedly said that his government would follow David Johnston’s recommendations against calling a public inquiry into foreign interference in Canadian politics.
Johnston’s decision followed a call for an inquiry by all opposition parties and after the government itself said it would support one, if Johnston recommended it.
“When I began this process, I thought I would come to the same conclusion — that I would recommend a public inquiry,” Johnston said in a news conference Tuesday.
“While it would have been an easy choice, it would not be the correct one.”
Appointed by Trudeau as a special rapporteur on foreign interference in March in response to the commotion over Chinese government interference, Johnston has spent the last two months interviewing policymakers and reviewing documents.
While defending his impartiality in response to attacks from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre citing Johnston’s relationship with the Trudeau family and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Johnston said that while he isn’t recommending a public inquiry, he did find “serious shortcomings in the way intelligence is communicated and processed from security agencies through to government."
Johnston said he’ll continue his work through to October as special rapporteur by holding hearings to find ways to fix those shortcomings and added he will produce a second report later this year.
“The public process should focus on strengthening Canada’s capacity to detect, deter and counter foreign interference in our elections and the threat such interference represents to our democracy,” Johnston said in his report tabled Tuesday.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)