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Poilievre: “Chinese interference helped Liberals”. And minister Mendicino is vague about intelligence documents

OTTAWA – “Our Prime Minister is quietly letting a foreign and authoritarian government interfere in our elections, simply because he benefits from it”: the leader of the Conservatives, Pierre Poilievre (in the pic above, from his Twitter profile @PierrePoilievre), on Friday accused Justin Trudeau of ignoring Chinese interference in the last federal elections because Beijing’s efforts were aimed at helping the Liberals.

Just on Friday, the Globe and Mail reported that according to classified and top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) documents, Beijing tried to secure a liberal minority government and the defeat of several conservative candidates in the 2021 election and that a former Chinese consul-general in Vancouver has boasted of his efforts to help defeat two Conservative MPs (here: CSIS documents reveal Chinese strategy to influence Canada’s 2021 election). And according to Poilievre, it’s hard to believe that Trudeau was unaware of the CSIS findings. “Justin Trudeau knew about this interference and hid it because he benefited from it” said the Conservative leader.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to “cover up” Chinese interference in the latest federal election.

But Trudeau himself said he was aware of the threat and that in any case foreign interference did not change the results of the 2019 and 2021 elections. “I have been saying for years, even in the House of Commons, that China is trying to interfere in our democracy, even during our elections – he added – but Canada has some of the best and most robust elections in the world and all Canadians can have complete confidence that the results of the 2019 and 2021 elections were determined by Canadians , and only by Canadians, to the voting booth” Trudeau reiterated, citing reports from the Election Integrity Commission that reviewed the 2019 and 2021 elections.

And precisely on the reports of the commission, the Federal Minister of Public Security, Marco Mendicino, speaking with Mercedes Stephenson at “The West Block” on Global News, in reiterating that the 2019 and 2021 elections were free and fair, did not respond clearly to the question – repeated several times by the journalist – whether the commissions have ever seen the reports with which Canadian intelligence warned of electoral interference attempts by China (here: Did Canada’s election integrity panels get access to China memos? What the minister says). “Our nonpartisan and professional public officials review the information they need to make the election integrity assessment” Mendicino replied. “They get the access they need to the information they need to reach those conclusions”. Basically, he remained vague.

Mercedes Stephenson’s interview with Marco Mendicino at “The West Block” 

The minister then insisted that the federal government was taking aggressive action to counter foreign interference, but was also vague about future measures, including that of a possible expulsion of Chinese diplomats. “We will always take all necessary steps, we have our eyes peeled for these threats,” Mendicino said, promising that the government will be transparent with Canadians about the foreign threats facing the country. National security is not a partisan issue”, he concluded.

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