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Reports Say Judge Selected to Lead Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference

The federal government has tapped Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josée Hogue to lead the public inquiry into interference by foreign states, according to several reports.

Media outlets have reported the news, citing anonymous sources, but have indicated that Minister Dominic Leblanc is expected to make the official announcement on Sept. 7.

Mr. Leblanc, who is responsible for Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, said during the Liberal cabinet retreat at the end of August that parties were “real close” to finding the right candidate.

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The minister had refused to confirm rumours the hold-up was due to several sitting or retired judges refusing to take the role.

The Liberal government had resisted holding a public inquiry and instead appointed former governor general David Johnston as special rapporteur on foreign interference last March. Mr. Johnston resigned under pressure in June and the government began negotiations with opposition parties on the terms of an inquiry.

The Globe and Mail reports that the inquiry will not be solely focused on interference by the Chinese regime and will look at the actions of other states as well.

National security leaks in the press about Beijing interference in Canadian democracy since November last year have generated the momentum leading to calls to hold an inquiry. The New Democrat Party (NDP) had called to expand the inquiry to other states, such as Russia.

Justice Hogue was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Quebec in 2015 by the Harper government. She was previously a partner with law firms McCarthy Tétrault and Heenan Blaikie LLP.
The judge also served as a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Lamer—who went on to become chief justice—in 1988 and 1989. Based on available information online, Justice Hogue does not appear to have national security experience.

More to come…

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