A week after committing to name a new special rapporteur to take on assessing the allegations of federal election interference by China and the issue of foreign meddling overall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should know who he’s picked “in the coming days or week.”
“We know how important it is for Canadians to have confidence in our system and to have the right independent expert, reassuring of that. Because this is not about what one political party says or another,” Trudeau said, facing questions about the commitment from reporters during a media availability in Nova Scotia on Tuesday.
“It’s about making sure that experts are stepping up to reinforce the integrity of our democratic processes. We are working to appoint that special rapporteur, that special independent expert in the coming days or week. We’re working extremely quickly on that,” Trudeau said.
That is essentially the same timeline he offered when he announced last Monday that the Liberals planned to tap an independent expert to take on making recommendations on combatting interference and strengthening Canada’s democracy.
One of the yet-to-be-selected independent official’s first orders of business will be to recommend to the federal government whether a formal inquiry or other form of probe or judicial review is the best next step.
Noting the mixed views among Canadians and experts around a public inquiry, Trudeau has vowed that the Liberals would “abide by” the guidance of the person chosen on whether an inquiry is needed and, if so, what its mandate and scope should be.
This move, made as part of a suite of new measures aimed at addressing Canadians’ concerns over alleged election meddling by China during the last two federal campaigns, has not satisfied opposition parties.
They still want an inquiry called, and at minimum have been pushing for the prime minister to work with other parties in Parliament to come to an agreement on who the rapporteur should be. Trudeau has previously indicated that he was willing to consult the opposition parties on deciding which “eminent Canadian” takes on this new role.
In the meantime, a Liberal-led filibuster is ongoing at the Procedure and House Affairs Committee over an opposition-led push to call top staffers to testify as part of its ongoing study of foreign interference.
More to come….
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)