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Opening of hearings on Monday of the commission of inquiry into foreign interference | Public inquiry into foreign interference

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This week's sessions will focus on what must remain confidential.

The Canadian Press

The hearings of the public and independent commission of inquiry into foreign interference begin Monday in Ottawa. The purpose of this week's sessions is to examine what must remain confidential for the purposes of protecting national security.

Judge Marie- Josée Hogue, who chairs the work, must hear factual witnesses and recognized experts.

Among those scheduled to testify during the week are Pierre Trudel, professor at the University of Montreal, and Richard Fadden, former director of the Canadian security intelligence (CSIS).

The Minister of Public Security, Dominic LeBlanc, is also expected, as is the current leader of CSIS, David Vigneault.

These hearings are qualified as preliminary insofar as they will make it possible to prepare for the next public hearings during which the Commission will examine the substantive questions arising from its mandate, the commissioner argued in a press release in December.

Public inquiry into foreign interference

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Ms. Hogue must submit a first report no later than May 3. The final report is expected by December 2024.

The preliminary hearings must be spread over five days, according to the planned schedule.

The experts will help the Commission and the public understand both the risks that may arise from the disclosure of classified information and the practices that can be adopted to enable the disclosure of as much information as possible given legal constraints. and national security, can we read in an opinion published by the commission.

The issue of foreign interference made headlines starting in November 2022 with the publication of a series of articles by the Global network and the daily The Globe and Mail.

Reports included allegations of activities carried out by Beijing to influence the outcome of the 2019 and 2021 Canadian general elections.

Sources suggested that Justin Trudeau's government showed inaction despite advice it received from CSIS.

For example, Global reported, citing anonymous sources in the intelligence community, that the prime minister was warned of a broad alleged Chinese interference effort in the 2019 election campaign. Thus, at least 11 candidates would have received funds.

The man Mr. Trudeau appointed as special rapporteur on foreign interference, David Johnston, concluded in a report that China used proxies and attempted to influence many Liberal and Conservative candidates in various subtle ways .

However, according to the former governor general, there is nothing to conclude that the 11 candidates worked or are working in concert [i.e. as a “network”] or that they understood the intentions of the agents.

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Special Rapporteur David Johnston.

Reports from Globe and Mail have revealed that Conservative MP Michael Chong was the target of Beijing during an intimidation attempt. This led to the expulsion of a Chinese diplomat in Canada, Zhao Wei.

Mr. Chong was granted the right to participate fully in the public inquiry chaired by Judge Hogue.

The status of Mr. Chong in the investigation is more important and appears distinct from that of the federal Conservative Party, which obtained intervener status.

The commission, according to its mandate, will not be limited to the activities of Beijing and will have to take into consideration those of Russia and other foreign state or non-state actors, Minister LeBlanc has repeatedly emphasized.

Judge Hogue's team also requested that India be included in the transfer of relevant government documents to its investigation.

On September 18, Mr. Trudeau revealed in the House that Canadian intelligence services were investigating a possible link between the Indian government and the #x27;assassination in British Columbia of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh leader, last June. It was the same day Commissioner Hogue took office.

The Prime Minister mentioned credible allegations, which exacerbated tensions between India and Canada. New Delhi has called the allegations absurd and politically motivated.

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