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Police (not RCMP), election and ethics commissioners must issue public rulings on all foreign interference investigations

RCMP Commissioner favours secrecy, serves at pleasure of Cabinet, and RCMP has weak enforcement as SNC-Lavalin and Aga Khan scandals show — new, independent anti-foreign interference, anti-corruption police force needed

MPs, Senators and any others alleged to be involved in foreign interference should only be identified if good evidence of violation exists

Loopholes in election, political finance, lobbying and ethics rules need to be closed to actually prohibit and prevent interference and misinformation

Thursday, June 27, 2024

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch called for key steps to be taken to ensure full, independent, effective investigations into the allegations in the recent report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) on CSIS intelligence reports that MPs and Senators have helped foreign governments interfere in Canadian politics, and to ensure public rulings on every allegation.

While several commentators have called for political parties to deal with the allegations internally, or for all MPs and Senators to be identified now if they are alleged in intelligence reports to have participated in interference, neither of those steps would ensure independent investigations and public rulings, or fairness that complies with the Charter protections of due process and justice given intelligence reports often contain rumours or very questionable evidence.

And while all parties voted in the House of Commons in support of a resolution calling on the Hogue Inquiry into foreign interference to examine the allegations and report on them, the Inquiry issued a statement saying it already has the intelligence reports referred to by NSICOP, and is already examining them.  But public inquiries generally do not identify people who are only rumoured to have committed wrongdoing, nor can the Inquiry conduct investigations, charge or prosecute or find anyone in violation of any Canadian law.

The RCMP can’t be trusted to investigate the allegations because RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme was chosen by, and serves at the pleasure, of the Trudeau Cabinet as do the Deputy Commissioners and heads of every RCMP division (Click here to see ss. 5, 6 and 6.1 of the RCMP Act).

As well, Commissioner Duheme has made it clear he favours secrecy in foreign interference investigations in a CBC interview (Click here to see video) and Global TV interview (Click here to see video) which violates the public’s right to know.

In addition, the RCMP has shown clearly that it is simply incapable of effectively investigating allegations of wrongdoing members of the ruling party, as it conducted incomplete, weak and very questionable investigations into Prime Minister Trudeau’s actions in the SNC-Lavalin scandal (which the RCMP tried to bury for years), and in the Aga Khan scandal.

As many including Democracy Watch have called for, a new, much more independent, expert, effective and transparent national police force is needed to investigate foreign interference, corruption and national security. However, given the Trudeau Cabinet has failed to create this more independent police force, the key steps for now to ensure to full, independent, effective investigations into the allegations, and public rulings on every allegation, are as follows:

1. Now that Bill C-70 has passed, CSIS is allowed to share intelligence information with police forces and other law enforcement entities;

2. CSIS should share the intelligence information containing the information with provincial or local police forces (again, not the RCMP), and the Commissioner of Canada Elections, and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and Commissioner of Lobbying, depending on the laws that could have been violated (preferably the information would be given to provincial ethics and lobbying commissioners because the federal Ethics Commissioner Konrad von Finckenstein and Commissioner of Lobbying Nancy Bélanger were both handpicked by the Trudeau Cabinet and have very bad enforcement records);

3. The police forces, Commissioner of Canada Elections, ethics and lobbying commissioners should investigate each allegation that is referred to them by CSIS, and must issue a public ruling in each case, and;

4. The public rulings should either be:

a) an announcement that charges are being laid and a named person or entity prosecuted or found guilty for violating the law;

b) an announcement that there is clear evidence that a named person or entity engaged in foreign interference activities but that for an explained reason they will not be charged, prosecuted or found guilty; or

c) an announcement that does not name the person or entity because there is no good evidence that they engaged in foreign interference.

“To ensure independent, effective and transparent investigations of the allegations of foreign interference, CSIS should give the intelligence information to federal elections, ethics and lobbying commissioners, and to police forces other than the RCMP because the RCMP is too controlled by the ruling party Cabinet and has a weak enforcement record, and they should all investigate and issue public rulings in each case that only name violators if there is good evidence that they violated a law,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.

The House and Senate passed anti-foreign interference Bill C-70 but left huge loopholes in Bill C-70 that allow for ongoing secret foreign interference and influence activities, and make enforcement partisan, political, weak, secretive and unaccountable.

Click here to see the Backgrounder that summarizes all the loopholes and weak enforcement problems that make foreign interference legal and easy to do across Canada at every level of government.  Click here to see summary list of 17 key changes that need to be made to stop foreign interference, including establishing a new, much more independent, expert, effective and transparent national police force to investigate foreign interference, corruption and national security.

“All the loopholes in Canada’s election, political donation and spending, lobbying and ethics laws must be closed, and enforcement strengthened, to actually stop foreign governments, businesses and organizations from interfering in and influencing Canadian politics and politicians in secret, including by making false claims on social media sites,” said Conacher.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
Email: [email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Democracy Watch’s Stop Foreign Interference in Canadian Politics Campaign, Government Ethics Campaign and Stop Secret, Unethical Lobbying Campaign