Trudeau refuses to say if Liberal MPs spied on foreign governments

‘Are there any MPs in your caucus that are named in the NSICOP report to be wittingly or semi-wittingly participants in foreign interference?’ asked a reporter. ‘The issue of foreign interference is one that this government has taken incredibly seriously,’ replied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau refuses to say if Liberal MPs spied on foreign governments
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to directly answer whether his government would boot Liberal MPs from caucus for working on behalf of foreign regimes. 

“Are there any MPs in your caucus that are named in the NSICOP report to be wittingly or semi-wittingly participants in foreign interference?” asked a reporter. “The issue of foreign interference is one that this government has taken incredibly seriously,” replied Trudeau.

“We brought in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians over the objections of the Conservative Party and indeed the strenuous resistance of the Harper government for years,” he claimed.

Formed in 2017, NSICOP is an independent, high-level review body of Canada’s national security and intelligence organization composed of lawmakers from all major parties. Its members are bound to secrecy under the Security of Information Act

The report, Special Report on Foreign Interference in Canada's Democratic Processes and Institutions, revealed that MPs leaked confidential information to Indian government officials. They allegedly advocated on their behalf in exchange for secret payments.

It named China as the “most prolific actor” in clandestine operations.

The report also said a former MP had maintained a relationship with a foreign intelligence officer and sought a meeting with that officer while in a foreign country.

“I'll ask you again,” the reporter said. “Are there any current Liberal caucus members named in the NSICOP report that are wittingly or semi wittingly participants in foreign interference? 

Prime Minister Trudeau deflected again, permitting NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to speak for their respective parties.

May and Singh both received access to the committee’s confidential report last week, while Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre did not obtain sufficient security clearance.

Singh told reporters on Thursday that “a number of MPs” knowingly helped foreign governments, but none happened to be of his caucus. He did not provide more details.

May said there was no “list of MPs who have shown disloyalty to Canada.” 

MPs and senators increasingly want the culprits to be unmasked and expelled, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. However, cabinet refuses to disclose names. 

On June 3, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland did not answer if MPs would be booted from caucus if they were Liberals. 

“The guarantee I can give to Canadians is that our government takes foreign interference very, very seriously,” Freeland said. “We have put in place tougher measures than existed under the previous conservative government to fight foreign interference,” she added.

During Question Period two days latter, Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre inquired about their identities. ”He knows better than that,” replied Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

“No responsible government would reveal names in circumstances of specific intelligence,” said LeBlanc. He did not specify what if any steps would be taken against foreign agents.

NSICOP examined roughly 4,000 documents totalling more than 33,000 pages, briefings from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP, and interviews with people including the prime minister.

“The issue of foreign interference is one that this government has taken extremely seriously,” Trudeau said. “We have also called a number of different reports, including an on-going report on foreign interference, that is, that we are working with right now to see how they can follow-up on the NSICOP report.”

The last time a parliamentarian was convicted of espionage was in 1947 with the jailing of MP Fred Rose as a Soviet agent. He served six years in prison for violating the Official Secrets Act.

A second Communist MP, Dorise Nielsen, lost re-election in 1945 but remained under RCMP surveillance until her defection to China.

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