Canadian Government Roiled By Report Of Officials Aiding Foreign Election Influence Efforts

Suggestions of treason rocked Canada last week after a report said members of its Parliament were “witting” accomplices in foreign election meddling efforts.

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), composed of lawmakers given top-level security clearance to conduct a sensitive investigation into foreign influence, released a report last week suggesting that some Canadian lawmakers worked with foreign agents in potentially treasonous ways, according to POLITICO.

The report says that the lawmakers involved are unlikely to be found guilty of a crime over what the investigation uncovered because of the difficulty of producing classified information in criminal courts for prosecution.

NSICOP found that certain Canadian lawmakers were or are “‘semi-witting or witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in Canadian politics.” The allegations against the lawmakers include accepting financial or community support mobilized on behalf of foreign missions, providing foreign agents with information on Canadian lawmakers, and sharing privileged information with foreign agents.

“[T]he most prolific actor” among foreign influencers was China, according to The New York Times. India was the next most influential actor

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have come under heavy criticism in the wake of the report. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, the main opposition to Trudeau, called for the unnamed lawmakers at the center of the report’s allegations to be made known to the Canadian people.

“The national security committee indicates there are members of this House that have knowingly worked for foreign hostile governments,” Poilievre said last week, according to POLITICO. “Canadians have a right to know who and what is the information — who are they?”

Government officials have resisted calls to make public the names of lawmakers facing accusations. Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said that such a move would be irresponsible and a violation of the Security of Information Act.

“My colleague knows full well that no responsible government would disclose names involved in specific intelligence situations,” LeBlanc said last week in response to a Conservative lawmaker. “It is not entirely accurate of him to claim that a responsible government, one that focuses on the security of Canada and our democratic institutions, would do such a thing.”

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