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Commissioner stands firm on security measures despite Diaspora groups’ refusal to participate in foreign interference inquiry

Following the recent boycott of the public inquiry into foreign interference by two diaspora groups, Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue has released a statement seeking to assuage security concerns from individuals worried about reprisals over their contribution to the investigation.

“Some members of diaspora communities have told us that they fear reprisals if they provide information to the Commission. Some are also worried that all the information they provide to the Commission will be shared with Participants in the Commission.” Ms. Hogue wrote in a statement released on Feb. 22.

“I want to reassure them that it is not the case. None of the Participants in the Commission, including those with Party standing, will have access to classified information, or information provided to the Commission on a confidential basis.”

The statement came after the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP), previously a member of a human rights coalition participating in the inquiry, withdrew from the process on Jan. 31. Another diaspora group, Canadian Friends of Hong Kong (CFHK), also called for a boycotting of the inquiry in a statement issued on Feb. 20.
The diaspora groups have raised concerns about Ms. Hogue’s decision to give “party standing” to former Liberal MP Han Dong and Michael Chan, deputy mayor of Markham, Ont. This status provides them “full participation rights,” including access to “certain non-public documents” and allows them to cross-examine witnesses, the Commissioner stated in her “Decision on Standing“ released on Dec. 4, 2023.

The Epoch Times sought clarification from the commission on how the rights granted to the officials align with the security measures introduced. The commission did not provide a response by publication time.

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In her Feb. 22 statement, Ms. Hogue highlighted other efforts to safeguard informants who fear reprisals. She noted the creation of a confidential email address, stating that the commission enforces “strict controls” to protect the confidentiality of information submitted through this email and the identity of the contributors.

Individuals with safety concerns also have the option for in-camera testimony and document submission, conducted solely in the presence of Ms. Hogue and the commission’s lawyers.


URAP urged Ms. Hogue to revoke the rights of Mr. Dong and Mr. Chan to question witnesses, access other witnesses’ testimony, or be present in hearings beyond the allegations against them. They have objected to the “intervener” status granted to Senator Yuen Pau Woo, enabling him to access exhibits entered into evidence and make oral or written submissions.

The three politicians face allegations of inappropriate links to the Chinese consulate concerning the regime’s foreign interference in Canada and the country’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021. All of them have denied the allegations.

Mr. Dong and Mr. Chan didn’t respond multiple requests from The Epoch Times for comment. Meanwhile, Mr. Woo has refuted URAP’s allegations, previously saying that they are “without any evidence” and could potentially “lead to a witch hunt.”

Ms. Hogue acknowledged URAP’s claim about individuals harbouring concerns about being questioned by Mr. Dong and Mr. Chan, but upheld her decision on the politicians’ standing in the inquiry. In January, the Commission pledged to introduce measures to protect participants who fear reprisals.

URAP executive director Mehmet Tohti, said that concerns about the involvement of the three politicians were not limited solely to security.

“It is not about my safety and security; it is my principled stand,” he told The Epoch Times in a previous interview. “I don’t want to be questioned, or examined, or cross-examined by those people who have deep ties with the Chinese Communist Party.”

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