Mar 7, 2023 - World

Trudeau orders probe into reports Beijing interfered in Canada's elections

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday. Photo: Dave Chan/Getty Images

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he'll appoint an independent special rapporteur to investigate allegations of a recent election interference campaign by China's ruling Communist Party.

Why it matters: Trudeau has faced repeated calls to act after media reports emerged last month alleging that documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) showed a Beijing-backed drive to influence the outcome of Canada's federal elections in 2019 and 2021.

  • He had previously defended his government's handling of foreign interference in elections. Last week, he called a Globe and Mail report that alleged the CSIS urged him to drop a candidate who's now a member of Parliament in his ruling Liberal Party due to his ties to Beijing "false."

What he's saying: "We all agree that upholding confidence in our democratic process, in our elections, in our institutions is of utmost importance,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa on Monday.

  • "This is not, and should never be, a partisan issue. I understand that people want answers, and Canadians deserve reassurance."
  • Trudeau said the special rapporteur "will have a wide mandate and make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening" Canada's democracy.
  • "Today, we’re taking even further action to protect our democratic institutions, to defend their integrity, and to uphold and strengthen confidence in our democracy," he said. "We will always take foreign attempts at undermining our democracy very seriously."

Worth noting: Trudeau's action Monday falls short of opposition parties' calls for a public inquiry into the matter.

For the record: China's government has called the allegations "purely baseless and defamatory."

Photo: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau/Twitter
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