Trudeau appoints official to investigate Chinese interference in Canadian elections
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday appointed former Governor General David Johnston as an independent special rapporteur to investigate allegations of Chinese interference in Canadian elections.
Johnston served as Governor-General of Canada between 2010 and 2017, who assumes the duties of head of state on behalf of the British monarch.
Trudeau had announced last week that he would create the post of special rapporteur after Canadian intelligence reports accused China of meddling in the 2019 and 2021 general elections, documents that were leaked by media outlets.
According to published information, China supported 11 candidates in the 2019 elections.
Furthermore, Canadian intelligence indicated that Beijing preferred Trudeau’s Liberal Party to win over the opposition Conservative Party.
China has denied interfering in Canada’s internal affairs and called the accusations made by Canadian media and politicians “ridiculous”.
Since these revelations emerged, opposition parties have demanded that Trudeau form a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations and determine the level of Chinese interference in the country.
Trudeau refused the opposition’s demands, but agreed that Johnston, as special rapporteur, would decide whether the appointment of the commission of investigation is necessary.
The Canadian government also announced that it will create a register of lobbyists acting in Canada on behalf of foreign governments “to ensure transparency and accountability for those acting on behalf” of other countries.
Earlier this month, Beijing again denied interfering in Canada’s internal affairs, after the Canadian prime minister announced the appointment of the special rapporteur.
“Some Canadian politicians are spreading lies. This is just ridiculous. China has no interest in interfering in Canada’s internal affairs and would never do such a thing,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning at a press conference.
Ties between the two countries deteriorated after the 2018 arrest in Canada of Meng Wangzhou, chief executive of Chinese technology company Huawei, at the behest of the United States.
China retaliated by arresting Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were arrested in China and tried for espionage.
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