The Niagara Independent, March 10, 2023 –
“This is a full-blown national security crisis. The ruling Liberals want us to pretend it’s not happening. The prime minister is obviously hiding something.”
– Terry Glavin, China’s “Magic Weapon” Hits Canadian Targets
Regarding the current national scandal, not much more has been confirmed than was known three weeks ago when the story broke: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) covertly influenced Canada’s 2019 and 2021 federal general elections in order to re-elect a Liberal government. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not want Canadians to know about the CCP operations in Canada.
The string of Globe and Mail articles about the CCP’s “sophisticated strategy” to ensure the Trudeau Liberals remain in power have exposed a series of political activities between the federal Liberals and CCP operatives in Canada. The burning question now central to the Liberal-CCP connection: is this a marriage of convenience or a mutually beneficial working relationship?
MPs returned to Ottawa after a 16-day recess and rumbled through a week of high drama on Parliament Hill. Despite the PMO’s best efforts to deflect attention from the CCP ties to the governing Liberals, each day new facts came to the forefront and shone a spotlight on an increasingly agitated PM.
It was a heck of a week. In an attempt to squelch further criticism, Trudeau called a press conference on Monday afternoon to present his solution to “restoring Canadians’ confidence” in their elections. In conjunction with this powerplay, Liberal MPs were filibustering a motion at committee that called for Trudeau’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford to testify under oath about what the PM knew about foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections. That same committee then tabled in the House of Commons a recommendation for Parliament to “launch a national public inquiry” – a recommendation that MPs will be required to vote on.
Meanwhile, in Question Period, Trudeau repeatedly refused to answer direct “yes or no” questions about CCP donations to Liberals and, instead, provided cute non sequitur observations about his government’s performance.
The RCMP provided a slideshow for the PM (perhaps in comic relief?) announcing that they had opened an investigation. The investigation is not related to the national security concerns surrounding election influence by the CCP, but the Forces’ conviction to seek out and charge the whistleblower(s) in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – who leaked the intel that embarrassed the PM and his government.
Back to the PM’s press conference on Monday… Trudeau dug deep into his tickle trunk to pull out a novel idea: he would name “a new special rapporteur” to investigate the issues surrounding the last two elections and to determine what next steps should be taken to ensure the integrity of the country’s electoral process. This individual is still to be identified and his/her scope of work and expected outcome is undefined, except for the PM’s expectation that the rapporteur’s work will lead to further action to address any foreign interference in Canada’s elections.
Trudeau also announced that there will be two investigations conducted by two separate bodies. First, a National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (with a majority of MPs from the Liberals and NDP – and all sworn to secrecy) will investigate the known facts in camera and report back to the PM. Second, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (members of the NSIRA has been selected by the PMO) will conduct a review of Canada’s national security agencies and how they manage threats of foreign interference – and the agency’s report is also to be submitted to the PM.
Opposition MPs immediately called out the PM for his sleight of hand approach. MP Peter Julian, the NDP House Leader, commented that a committee of MPs is simply not credible. “Alleged foreign interference in Canada’s democracy is incredibly serious, and deserves an independent, non-partisan public inquiry. The NDP does not believe [the committee] is an acceptable substitute for a public inquiry. That committee is partisan, and takes place behind closed doors.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre slammed the thought of a rapporteur, stating that the position sounds like a “fake job.” Poilievre accused Trudeau of attempting to keep his investigations secretive and the release of any findings within his control. Poilievre on Trudeau: “He could pick someone independent, but he won’t. He’ll pick another Liberal establishment insider—a real Ottawa insider with some gray hair who looks like a reasonable fellow, but we all know that it will be someone tied to him, tied to the Liberals, here to protect the Liberal establishment.”
Editorials from the country’s leading media organizations were also critical of the PM’s announced approach. John Ivison in the National Post observed “Trudeau’s priority on Chinese interference is protecting himself, not democracy”. The Globe and Mail stated, “the existence of the rapporteur is an all-purpose excuse to deflect any further questions from the press or the opposition and any further calls for action… the Liberals continue to duck the accountability that would come with real scrutiny of their efforts…”
Veteran national newsman Andrew Coyne went further in his Globe and Mail columns this week to make the argument that an independent and transparent public inquiry must be called. Coyne concludes what others like newsmen Sam Cooper and Terry Glavin have been exposing for weeks, that this CCP election influence scandal is much more than the election of some Liberal MPs. Coyne comments: “It is not just that China’s interference activities were allegedly carried out with the help of domestic enablers. It is that, as the intelligence suggests, those domestic enablers were, overwhelmingly though not exclusively, prominent members of the governing party. The government cannot be entrusted to inquire into itself; Liberals cannot be left to investigate Liberals.”
Coyne punctuated his thoughts with the query: “We know, that is, that China preferred to see the Liberals in power. We don’t know why…. We don’t know what the return on their investment was.”
The political objectives between the CCP operatives and Trudeau’s election team in getting Liberals elected is now fully understood – even though all facts have yet to be shared. CSIS reported that there is a network of politicos – including elected members Michael Chan, Han Dong, Mary Ng as well as agents on the staff of MPs – who were involved with CCP in the last decade when it was flushing money and volunteers into Liberal campaigns (note that all individuals are denying association with the nefarious activities). CSIS also tracked the CCP’s tactics targeting Justin Trudeau – and the tens of thousands of donations given annually into his Montreal riding association for the Liberals’ election war chest, and the million-dollar donation to the Trudeau Foundation.
But now what of the political objectives and the quid pro quos for the CCP’s support of the Trudeau Liberals? What is the story behind the joint Canada-China virus research and firings of the scientists at the Winnipeg Lab? What are the facts that the PM has gone to great lengths to avoid revealing, including proroguing Parliament, legal proceedings, and an election call? And what of the litany of questionable Canadian policies respecting China? What are Canadians not being told by the Trudeau government? What is the hidden agenda?
On Wednesday MP John McKay, a veteran Liberal backbencher and chair of the National Defence committee, stated “The government of China is an existential threat to Canada on a multiplicity of levels. We need as a nation to come to grips with the desire of the government of China to turn us all into vassal states.”
This stark realization is precisely what Terry Glavin has been stating all along. Fittingly, the last word goes to Glavin, who again this week observed in his telling National Post article: “The contested details about Beijing’s election-monkeywrenching operations in 2019 and 2021 are almost irrelevant. The Liberal party that arrived on the scene with Trudeau at the helm in 2015 was for all intents and purposes the political wing of the Canada-China Business Council.”
Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com