Finding himself embroiled in yet another scandal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed accusations that the Chinese Communist Party helped elect a Toronto-area Liberal member of Parliament.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Mississauga, Trudeau told reporters that he was glad Canadians were interested in possible election interference, but stopped short of guaranteeing a public inquiry.
“I think it's a really important and great thing that Canadians are so interested in ensuring that our principles of democracy and our practice of democracy continues to be protected from the ongoing interference as attempted by authoritarian governments around the world, whether it be China or other countries like it,” the prime minister told reporters.
“This week, at a parliamentary committee in public hearings our national security and intelligence adviser, along with the deputy minister of foreign affairs...will be testifying, among other top officials, publicly to a committee of the House of Commons on what is going on and what happened, and what further methods are going to be taken,” he added.
When faced with lapses in judgement, Trudeau has often pointed to these as opportunities to “learn.”
In this most recent case, where a report late last week from the Globe and Mail cited allegations from Canada's spy agency that China used a “sophisticated strategy” to interfere in the 2021 federal election, Trudeau returned to this strategy of shifting blame.
“We're continually improving and learning how to better keep Canadians safe and to keep our democracy safe,” Trudeau said.
Pointing to measures put in place following 2019's election, the prime minister asserted that his government “setup both an intelligence task force and a high-level panel consisting of top public servants to be able to ensure that the integrity of our elections is not compromised by foreign interference.
“Good news, obviously, is that they determined that both in the 2019 and 2021 elections, our election integrity held,” Trudeau proclaimed.
Former Conservative leader Erin O'Toole, Trudeau's main challenger in 2021's election, claimed last June that his party lost “about eight or nine seats” due to Chinese interference.
Reporting from the Globe suggests that intelligence gathered by CSIS showed China's desired outcome of 2021's federal election was to see the Trudeau Liberals maintain a minority government.