Opposition calls for an elections inquiry

A parliamentary committee voted to call on the Prime Minister to open an independent public inquiry into foreign interference of Canadian elections. 

Catch-up: Leaked CSIS documents obtained by The Globe and Mail alleged China tried to manipulate certain electoral races in 2019 and 2021 to favour specific candidates—mostly Liberal, but some Conservative—and reach their preferred outcome of a Liberal minority. 

  • CSIS reportedly warned the PM’s office before the 2019 election over one of their candidates, Han Dong, being in cahoots with China. Trudeau denies these claims. 

Trudeau has said a public inquiry is unnecessary, as a report by a panel of senior public servants already determined that Chinese interference did not sway the elections. Critics have argued the report did not go far enough and could be tainted by partisanship.

Why it matters: A public inquiry aligns with public sentiment. An Angus Reid poll suggests two-thirds of Canadians suspect China attempted to interfere in recent elections. Over half feel it poses a threat to democracy and that the government should be doing more about it.    

Yes, but: Canada’s national security adviser said any inquiry would be limited in scope and usefulness due to the restrictions on public discussions of national security matters, and, in the hearings yesterday, the head of CSIS agreed the elections weren’t compromised.

Zoom out: Between returning sneaky donations and taking down their TikToks, politicians are working to distance themselves from China—though letting go of 880,000 followers can’t be easy for Jagmeet Singh. It’s pretty smart, as we have a sneaking suspicion this will be a big issue next election.