Liberals support push to have public inquiry probe claims that Parliamentarians helped foreign states

Liberals support push to have public inquiry probe claims that Parliamentarians helped foreign states
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Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government will support calls to have the public inquiry probing foreign election interference take on shocking new claims that some parliamentarians have “wittingly” conspired with foreign governments.

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Last week, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), a cross-party committee of MPs and senators with top security clearances, released a heavily redacted document alleging some parliamentarians have actively helped foreign governments like China and India meddle in Canadian politics.

The bombshell accusations have rattled the House of Commons and touched off a fiery debate about whether, and how, the names of the accused parliamentarians should be released.

Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer wrote to Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc and public inquiry commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue on Sunday about what he called the report’s “extremely disturbing” findings.

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In his letter, he asks Hogue’s inquiry to review NSICOP’s report and issue findings of fact on whether current or former MPs or senators have knowingly participated in “foreign interference.”

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“Canadians deserve to know if federal parliamentarians have knowingly engaged in activities on behalf of foreign governments that have undermined Canada’s national interest,” he wrote.

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Bloc motion calls for inquiry to be expanded

On Monday, the Bloc Quebecois moved a motion calling for the mandate of the inquiry to be expanded.

During question period Monday, LeBlanc said the Liberals will support the motion. He said Privy Council officials are already in contact with Hogue’s team.

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LeBlanc remained firm, however, in the face of calls to release the names of MPs and other parliamentarians cited in the report. He said he would face prosecution if he leaked confidential information.

The RCMP has said it is probing cases involving foreign interference but would not say whether it’s investigating parliamentarians.

Last week’s report said NSICOP members viewed intelligence suggesting MPs worked to influence their colleagues on India’s behalf and proactively provided confidential information to Indian government officials.

In one case cited in the report — based on Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) information shared with NSICOP — a then-member of Parliament maintained a relationship with a foreign intelligence officer. The officer’s country of origin was not included in the public report.

Last month, the public inquiry investigating foreign interference reported that attempts by other countries to meddle in the 2019 and 2021 general elections did not determine which party formed the government.

“Nonetheless, the acts of interference that occurred are a stain on our electoral process and impacted the process leading up to the actual vote,” Hogue wrote in her initial report.



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