VANCOUVER — Canadians who say they have been victim to foreign interference and intimidation by the Chinese government are calling a special rapporteur’s recommendation against a formal inquiry on the matter “shockingly” disappointing.
Uyghur rights activist Mehmet Tohti says former governor general David Johnston’s suggestion that public hearings are adequate to address possible foreign interference in Canada is misguided, since everything that can be discussed at hearings has already been made public.
Tohti says a formal inquiry would have brought transparency to government’s handling of intelligence reports on Chinese foreign interference in Canadian politics, and the lack of such a mechanism makes China’s critics more worried about their personal safety in the face of “trans-national oppression.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Johnston to lead an investigation into the extended impact of foreign interference in Canada amid allegations that China meddled in the federal elections in 2019 and 2021.
Former Conservative member of Parliament Kenny Chiu, who has said he was the target of foreign interference in 2021 when he lost his seat in Steveston-Richmond East, says a formal inquiry is needed because the allegations have created doubt in the public’s minds about the extent of foreign interference in Canadian institutions.
Chiu says the Canadian government should be focused on enacting laws to “prevent foreign actors in even intimidating and influencing one vote.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023.
The Canadian Press