Conservatives will back Liberals' foreign interference bill

Foreign Affairs critic Michael Chong said the Conservatives were proposing to move a unanimous consent motion, which would allow the bill's 'expeditious passage' through the House of Commons and committee.

Conservatives will back Liberals' foreign interference bill
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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The Conservatives will support the Trudeau Liberals' proposed foreign interference legislation, foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said on Tuesday.

Chong noted there would be a tight timeline for getting the measure passed before the next federal election.

Chong said the Conservatives were proposing to move a unanimous consent motion, which would allow the bill's "expeditious passage" through the House of Commons and committee.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Chong wrote: “Conservatives will work in good faith to ensure the rapid progress of Bill C-70 through the House while ensuring sufficient scrutiny of the bill’s measures. I look forward to working with you to see the passage of this legislation through Parliament.”

Bill C-70 proposes new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to investigate and combat foreign interference. It also introduces new and updated criminal offences for sabotage, political interference, and other crimes committed on behalf of foreign entities.

Bill C-70 would also create a foreign influence registry that would require those working for a foreign government, business or any other entity involved in policymaking or campaigning to register their activities with a new independent commissioner.

Introduced in the House of Commons on May 6, the bill sets a one-year timeline to establish the foreign influence transparency commissioner’s office and implement the other proposed reforms.

The next election is scheduled to be held by October 2025 at the latest. This puts pressure on the House and Senate to get the bill passed quickly.

The bill is “vital to ensuring that Canadians can head to the polls in confidence and free of intimidation or fear,” Chong continued in his statement.

In response, LeBlanc said that he was "not pessimistic we can’t build a consensus around the importance of having this legislation in place as quickly as possible."

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