‘This is the first time it [my integrity] has been called into question,’ David Johnston tells Commons committee

Justin Trudeau’s special rapporteur on Chinese foreign interference, David Johnston, testified on Tuesday before the Procedure and House Affairs committee to answer conflict of interest allegations.

‘This is the first time it [my integrity] has been called into question,’ David Johnston tells Commons committee
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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David Johnston appeared bewildered that his integrity and/or independence might be questioned.

“This is the first time it [my integrity] has been called into question,” he remarked.

Johnston has never downplayed his close relations with Justin Trudeau and the Trudeau family, or even the family Foundation in the past. In fact, he’s boasted of them.

Johnston frequently used the terms “we,” and “us” when questioned on intelligence that he may or may not have received.

More specifically, when questioned by Conservative MP Michael Cooper on the existence of CSIS briefings seen by former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole (which should have been included in his report’s final conclusions), Johnston said that his findings were “based on the information we had at the time.”

Who is the “we”?

Johnston chided the Opposition party leaders afterwards for not “receiving clearance” to view the documents.

Is the “we” the ever-increasing number of Liberal insiders who are being brought along for the taxpayer-funded ride to provide advice to him?

Is it Johnston’s head counsel Sheila Block, who donated to the Liberal Party of Canada and attended fundraisers for Justin Trudeau, or her team of lawyers?

Is it fellow Trudeau Foundation associate Frank Iacobucci, who cleared Johnston of his conflict of interest?

Is it members of Navigator, a crisis firm that was hired at the taxpayer’s expense to manage the fallout from this spectacle?

Is it Jody Thomas, Trudeau’s personal National Security Advisor, who testified that vital memos containing threats against Conservative MP Michael Chong were lost in a “black hole”?

Is it members of the Privy Council Office, who are loyal to Justin Trudeau?

Is it intelligence officers from NSIRA, NSICOP, or SITE – all of which have members either fully or partially appointed by our Prime Minister?

Who is the “we” that missed the information given to Erin O’Toole that may have resulted in entirely different conclusions in Johnston’s report?

Johnston revealed his testimony afterward – and only in an exclusive interview with CBC News that he was receiving additional assistance with his special rapporteuring.

Johnston admitted he began receiving “unpaid advice” ten days ago from two well-known left-wing politicians – Don Guy, a Liberal strategist and former Liberal chief of staff now at the polling firm Pollara; and Brian Topp, a former NDP chief of staff to Rachel Notley.

Pollara is run by Dan Arnold, the man who helped lead Justin Trudeau to victory in 2015, and the firm, which has received contracts from the Privy Council Office in the past, is stacked with other Liberal insiders.

Although it was never clarified in committee what exactly happened with the CSIS briefings shared with O’Toole that Johnston claims he never saw, or why that information was not considered in his report’s conclusions, Johnston did concede that intelligence may have been missed.

“Am I confident that we saw every bit of information that we would like to have had or perhaps should have had, given the ocean of information? The answer is no,” Johnston admitted. “I’m not sure how we could absorb any more than we had in the space of eight weeks.”

In later remarks to the CBC, Johnston said, “The amount of information available was an ocean, and we saw a very large lake.”

Suppose they (whoever they are) are only probing a lake’s worth of documents in an ocean of information and intelligence. How can we be certain that the conclusions reached in Johnston’s report are the correct ones, and that our democracy is indeed secure?

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  • By Sheila Gunn Reid

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Fire Liberal MP Han Dong!

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