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The Need for Maximal Disclosure on Beijing’s Election Interference


It looks like we finally have one political leader serving in higher office who actually wants to know more rather than less about the allegations of the Beijing Communist regime’s interference in our elections.

British Columbia NDP Premier David Eby says he’s “very troubled” by these allegations. He wants a “thorough and independent investigation” and he’s requested CSIS provide him with a “full briefing.”

This comes after reports indicate that diplomats representing the Chinese Communist Party took an interest in cultivating Vancouver municipal candidates as “saplings” to further their causes.

Eby went on to say that while he understands election interference is a federal issue, he wants to learn if there is anything his provincial government can do to “close any gaps” on tackling the issue.

This is a refreshingly non-political response to what’s become almost an existential issue for Canadian democracy.

Here we have a leader who is basically saying lay it all on the table. The request for the CSIS briefing shows that he’s more interested in simply learning as many details as possible than coming up with his own self-serving political spin. Let the chips fall where they may.

To be clear, federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has been incredibly strong on this file. But he’s not in government.

Eby’s request to be told the full story could, potentially, end up exposing challenges with his own candidates and caucus members if only because of how wide and deep this whole affair appears to go. But Eby seems to welcome sunlight as the best disinfectant.

Contrast that with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is doing all he can to deflect from the issue. He’s pulling out every trick he can think of to give the appearance of accountability while still falling short of permitting a robust public inquiry into the matter, which is what most people want to see happen.

What’s interesting—and of course concerning—is that what began as an issue isolated to federal elections in the Greater Toronto Area has now come to touch every level of government across the country.

The CSIS documents that media have reported on now tell us that the Beijing regime’s election interference interests run the gamut. We’re covered geographically, from Vancouver to Toronto. We’re covered politically, with allegations hitting mostly Liberals but also Conservatives. Plus we now have allegations about interference happening federally, provincially, and municipally.

This is not good, to put it mildly.

It’s times like these that make you wish Canada had the sort of robust probes that they conduct in American politics.

United States congressional hearings are serious affairs that you better not mess with. They’ve got the power to compel witnesses to attend and to procure documents and those who don’t comply can face serious consequences.

Also, because of their division of powers, they can operate these inquiries at considerable arm’s length from whichever administration is controlling the White House at the time.

The U.S. system really can get answers for the people. Not so in Canada, with our weak committees that are ultimately controlled by the PMO. Everyone acknowledges we have an incredibly serious issue but we’re just not getting the official response warranted.

It’s not just partisan actors who are making noise about the situation either. Former diplomats, top notch academics, national security experts—almost everyone with credentials says that we need a serious airing out of what’s really going on here.

One would hope that those figures who feel they’ve been wrongly ensnared in this fiasco would also support getting all the information out in the open, if they are so certain that the CSIS allegations concerning them don’t tell the full story.

Perhaps former governor general David Johnston can read the room and acknowledge that people see his appointment as “special rapporteur” to probe this issue as nothing more than window dressing on the part of Trudeau, and then politely withdraw his role in this and voice his support for a formal public inquiry. If the situation is so special, then why not go all the way in with how we tackle it?

Premier David Eby’s position seems to be the closest so far from a senior politician calling for maximal disclosure. That should be the default position that they all adopt.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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