Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

A Liberal MP said she was “disappointed” after Conservative MPs repeatedly asked the government about what action was being taken in response to allegations that China tried to interfere in the 2019 federal election.

The back-and-forth happened during question period on Friday, on the heels of Global News reporting last week that Canadian intelligence officials had warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that China was allegedly targeting Canada with a massive campaign of foreign interference.

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That campaign, officials added, allegedly involved financing a secret network of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election.

Both liberal and conservative candidates were allegedly targeted.

During question period, Conservative MP Michael Cooper asked the government if Trudeau immediately reported this interference alert to Canada’s election watchdog. Liberal MP Pam Damoff fired back, noting that Canada’s “fair and free electoral process” had “never” been compromised.

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“It’s not just me speaking… this was determined by an independent panel of national security experts. Let’s remember: the only ones who benefit from foreign interference are the enemies of democracy,” said Damoff.

“I am disappointed that the opposition continues to reinforce the messages of foreign interference in this House for five days. We should stand together to oppose this attack on our democracy.”

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How Trudeau will deal with China at the G20 after reports of alleged election meddling

Speaking during question time on Friday, Damoff expressed frustration with the number of questions Conservatives have devoted to the issue of alleged Chinese influence in the election.

“This is the fourth question today. “Five days of questions about foreign interference, and the opposition doesn’t seem to recognize who is being attacked by (this) foreign interference,” Damoff said.

“It’s not this side of the House, it’s not that side of the House. That is every single member in this House. His intention is to sow chaos, his intention is to destroy our democracy. We must stand together.”

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In a statement sent to Global News, Damoff’s office reiterated that she “rejected” opposition questions after lawmakers “repeatedly” reinforced messages about foreign interference in the House of Representatives.

“An independent panel of intelligence experts confirmed that the 2019 and 2021 elections were not threatened by foreign actors,” the statement added.

“The RCMP and intelligence agencies are taking concrete steps to combat all incidents of foreign interference to ensure the integrity of Canada’s democracy and protect the safety of all Canadians.”

Meanwhile, members of parliament agreed Monday to investigate allegations that China secretly funded some of Canada’s candidates in the 2019 election.

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It’s ‘concerning’ that Trudeau knew about possible Chinese election meddling but didn’t act: Poilievre

The motion calls on the House procedure and affairs committee to extend its ongoing study of foreign election interference for four meetings, which Cooper said will allow them to “investigate” the allegations in the Global News report.

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As part of this study, the committee will recall witnesses it has already heard in its ongoing investigation, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Elections Canada and the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force (SITE).

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A House of Commons committee will investigate China’s alleged meddling in the 2019 election

He will also call Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and the prime minister’s current national security adviser to testify.

The request also ordered the production of several documents – briefing notes, memoranda and documents – to be presented to the premier and his cabinet on allegations of foreign interference by the Chinese Communist Party.

Relevant departments and agencies will have 14 days to redact the documents in accordance with access to information and privacy laws and present them to the commission.

— with files from Global News’ Sam Cooper

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.