Trudeau will not launch inquiry into allegations of Chinese election interference

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The man Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed as the “special rapporteur” for Chinese election interference has squashed calls for a public inquiry into the issue.

David Johnston, former governor general and ex-member of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, said Tuesday that he would instead stage “a series of public hearings with Canadians” to illuminate the “problem of foreign interference” and ensure both the public and lawmakers are aware of this threat.

“Foreign governments are undoubtedly attempting to influence candidates and voters in Canada,” Johnston wrote in his first report, released Tuesday. “Much has been done already, but considerably more remains to be done to strengthen our capacity to resist foreign interference.”

The decision was rejected by the Official Opposition Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois. The NDP, who hold on to a loose coalition with the Liberals, remain committed to a public inquiry, though leader Jagmeet Singh did not dismiss Johnston’s report wholesale.

Reporters continued to pepper Trudeau with questions Wednesday on whether he would overrule Johnston’s advice and create a public inquiry, an option he made clear was not on the table.

Trudeau reacted angrily to one reporter’s question about how he was going to “build trust” with Canadians, given that Liberal MPs in the Greater Toronto Area apparently benefited from Chinese interference.

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