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The Johnston Report and NDP Hypocrisy

The federal NDP have tabled a motion calling for David Johnston to step down as “special rapporteur” looking into allegations of foreign interference by China into Canada’s elections.  

For months, Canadians have been appalled by the steady flow of reports showing the lengths to which China has sought to interfere in Canada’s democracy, and the failure—or possibly, unwillingness—of Justin Trudeau to stop them.

After months of pushing from opposition parties for an independent national inquiry, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed former Governor General David Johnston as “special rapporteur”, tasked with recommending the course of action the government should take. 

While I believe David Johnston to be an honorable man, I think it was a mistake for him to take on this project. At the very least, his association with the Trudeau Foundation—however innocent it may or may not have been—is enough to cast serious doubt on his credibility and impartiality in this matter.

I believe he did what he thought best. However, his conclusions were simply not sufficient for a growing majority of Canadians. Far from the final word of what happened, Mr. Johnston’s report only leaves Canadians with more questions. 

While as a former member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, I can sympathize with Mr. Johnston’s argument that public disclosure of certain materials could put intelligence assets and operations at risk, the reality is Canadians are long done giving this government the benefit of the doubt. National security is important and must be protected, and its disclosure always carefully adjudicated. However, I believe we are past the point in history where “national security” can be used as a trump card for governments to avoid scrutiny or accountability.  

Likewise, the government’s offer for party leaders to receive security clearance to view the documents in question sounds like a better deal than it actually is. Some folks have criticized my leader Pierre Poilievre for refusing the governments’ offer. Some have gone so far as to float foolish theories that he somehow “can’t get a clearance”—often coupled with racist smears against his wife, who was born in Venezuela. This is preposterous. As a former cabinet minister, Mr. Poilievre is a member of the Privy Council. He can see almost any document the government wants to show him. What he is refusing is to fall into an obvious political trap. The government is only offering the opportunity to see these documents if opposition leaders refuse (under penalty of criminal prosecution and prison) to disclose what they see. My leader, like the leader of the Bloc, refuses to be silenced by Justin Trudeau. Unlike the NDP, we refuse to be bought off and help him cover up his scandals and failures.  

Opposition parties are united in their belief we must still have a national public inquiry. There is a way to do so without putting national security at risk and if the government truly has nothing to hide (something few Canadians and even fewer parliamentarians believe) they should be the first in line to welcomer such a “vindication” their actions.

Of course, they won’t. And because they refuse to do so we can fairly safely assume they do, indeed, have something to hide—and it’s big.

This brings us back to the NDP and their motion.

It is beyond disingenuous and hypocritical for the NDP to pretend they care about transparency and accountability when they’ve been the ones helping Justin Trudeau cover up his scandals and failures.

The NDP ceased to be part of the opposition the day they entered into their self-serving confidence and supply agreement with the government. Rather than standing up for Canadians and the truth, they sold out their voters and serve only Justin Trudeau.

If the NDP really wants a public inquiry they should immediately withdraw from their confidence agreement and join the Conservatives and the Bloc in fighting for the truth, even if it means bringing down the government and forcing an election.

If the government really want Canadians to believe they did nothing wrong, they should call a public inquiry.

Sadly, both the Liberals and the NDP are more interested in preserving their own power than in the truth. As usual, Justin and Jagmeet are failing to serve Canadians because they are far too busy serving themselves.

Canada’s Conservatives will continue to push for the truth. We won’t be silenced, and we won’t hesitate to bring down the government should the opportunity present itself. Unfortunately, right now, that all comes down to the NDP.