Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking MPs and senators on Parliament’s national security committee to launch a new investigation of foreign interference in Canada.
Two Liberal sources, who were granted anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, confirmed to The Canadian Press that Trudeau will announce the news on Parliament Hill later on Monday.
The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians includes MPs from multiple parties, as well as one senator.
Global News has not independently confirmed the substance of Trudeau’s announcement.
The sources also said Trudeau will formally announce public consultations to create a registry for foreign agents similar to one that exists in Australia.
Anything less than a public inquiry on foreign interference is not enough: Poilievre, Singh
Earlier on Monday, the leaders of the federal Conservative and New Democratic parties again called on Ottawa to call a public inquiry to probe the allegations of Chinese interference in Canadian elections and society.
The NDP, which is upholding the minority Liberal government through a supply and confidence agreement struck last year, is calling for the government to hold a public inquiry.
The idea also has the backing of the Conservative and Bloc Québécois parties.
Last Thursday, the members of the procedure and House affairs committee investigating the allegations called for a public inquiry into the matter.
Conservative and Bloc Québécois members of the procedure and House affairs committee voted in favour of an NDP motion that seeks to launch “a national public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic system.”
Whether one will be launched remains unclear. Liberal MPs on the committee voted against the measure. The government has been under pressure to launch an inquiry after multiple media reports detailed alleged attempts by China to influence Canadian society and elections.
Singh dismisses idea of private committee investigating foreign election interference
The reports from Global News and the Globe and Mail have also called into question how much Trudeau and Canadian officials may have known about the alleged interference attempts, and whether the allegations should have been shared with the public earlier.
The NDP now plans to bring a similar motion to the House of Commons as a whole.
Specifically, the motion adopted in committee on Thursday notes that the committee cannot compel the government to launch a public inquiry. The motion also calls for any such inquiry to investigate “abuse of diaspora groups by hostile foreign governments,” and for it to have the power to order and review any documents it deems necessary, including documents related to national security.
It calls for the person to head such an inquiry to be “selected by unanimous agreement by the House Leaders of the officially recognized parties in the House of Commons” and notes that while the motion calls on the government to launch a public inquiry, the committee can’t compel it to do so.
—With files from Global’s Aaron D’Andrea
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