Interferences, the political theater is staged in the Chamber

TORONTO – The “political theater” on foreign interference continues on the stage of the Canadian House of Commons. Main interpreters, the leader of the NDP Jagmeet Singh and the special rapporteur David Johnston commissioned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (director) to evaluate whether or not it was the case to open a public inquiry into the pressure that China would have exerted on some Canadian politicians to influence the country’s politics. 

As is known, Johnston “advised against” the opening of a public inquiry and the NDP – which keeps Justin Trudeau’s minority government alive – presented a motion (non-binding, therefore almost useless) to ask Johnson to step aside and ask for a public inquiry to be launched.

The House of Commons approved the motion by a vote of 174 to 150 (i.e. with only the Liberals voting against). But Johnston, as was largely to be expected (given that the motion was not binding), replied: “I deeply respect the right of the House of Commons to express its opinion on my work in progress, but my mandate comes from the government”, he wrote in a note. “I have a duty to continue that work until my mandate is complete”.

Oddly surprised by Johnston’s response (which was quite obvious, Johnston having been tasked directly by Justin Trudeau – and they are also friends), NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attacked: “With all due respect to Johnston’s service, I believe his response to the vote on our motion is tone-deaf” Singh said. “I am very disappointed by the lack of understanding of the importance of such a vote which invites him to step aside and by the speed with which he responded to this vote”, added Singh who, however, had confirmed his unconditional support, a few hours earlier, to the government led by Justin Trudeau arguing that “it is better for Canadians to return to the vote only when they have recovered some faith in politics”.

The position of the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, is clearer: he defined Trudeau “a threat to democracy. He refuses to make absolutely necessary information public so that the population can make choices when it comes to elections”, Blanchet said. “He is creating a situation where we will face the next election with the same level of threat from a foreign power in our democracy without anything being done against it”.

The case of the approved and “snubbed” motion comes after NDP’s MP Jenny Kwan confirmed that she was warned by CSIS, Canada’s intelligence, that she had been subject to foreign interference from China for years. But evidently her party is more concerned about the fate of the Trudeau government than about those of its own deputies.

In the pic above, NDP’s leader Jagmeet Singh (from his Twitter page – @theJagmeetSingh)