Canada to probe Chinese interference in recent polls

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that an independent special rapporteur will probe alleged Chinese interference in their recent elections.

The appointed investigator will review classified reports about the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and will make recommendations for future contests, the BBC reported. Rival political party leaders have called for a public inquiry.

China has denied any election interference, calling the claims “purely baseless and defamatory”.

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Trudeau said the reports challenging Canada’s “sovereignty” are alarming, and “strike us to our very core as Canadians”, the Media reported.

“I will be appointing an independent special rapporteur, who will have a wide mandate and make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening our democracy,” he said.

The rapporteur has not yet been chosen, he said, adding that the appointment will be made in the coming days.

Trudeau also said he would ask members of parliament and senators in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (Nsicop) to begin a review of foreign interference and to report its findings to parliament.

He added that Canada has long been aware of meddling attempts by China, as well as Iran and Russia, the Media reported.

The countries, as well as several other non-state actors, “have attempted to interfere not only in our democracy but our country in general”.

A series of reports in the Globe and Mail newspaper and broadcaster Global News in recent weeks, based on leaks from Canadian intelligence sources, detailed alleged attempts by China’s Communist Party to interfere in the last two federal elections, BBC reported.

Chinese officials have dismissed the reports as “purely baseless and defamatory” and as “hype”.

Conservative politicians have said publicly they were aware of interference in 2021 race, and believe it had cost them several seats — though not enough to change the election result, which Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals won with a 41-seat lead, the Media reported.

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