‘No evidence at the time’ of foreign interference in 2019 federal election, says Lucki
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the RCMP had no evidence of foreign interference in the 2019 federal election and was not investigating any criminal activity related to that election.
But in a letter to the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which was first reported by The Globe and Mail and obtained by CBC News, Lucki acknowledged that the RCMP was currently investigating the activities of foreign interference in Canada. She refused to turn over redacted documents about those investigations to the committee.
The committee passed a motion at a Nov. 14 meeting requiring federal government departments and agencies to produce redacted documents on foreign interference in the 2019 federal election. The decision came after a report by Global News, which reported that CSIS briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January 2022 on Chinese efforts to interfere in this election. The interference allegedly included the Chinese government’s funding of at least 11 candidates.
In the letter to the committee, dated November 25, Lucki said the RCMP had no evidence of such activities at the time, but did not say whether the RCMP was currently investigating.
« In the context of the 2019 federal election, the RCMP did not conduct any criminal investigation of election-related activity, as there was no evidence at the time, » Lucki said.
« The RCMP is aware of interference by foreign actors in a wide range of activities, including interference in democratic processes. »
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Lucki said the RCMP could not provide documents to the committee about its ongoing investigations because it could jeopardize the investigations.
“The RCMP does not take these decisions lightly. An open dialogue about the impact of foreign actor interference on Canada, its citizens and its democratic processes is essential to help defend against these threats,” said Lucki.
« However, investigations into interference by foreign actors are among the most sensitive national security investigations the RCMP conducts today, and it must do everything possible to protect the integrity of these investigations. »
Trudeau and China deny history claims
During a scrum with reporters in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Trudeau did not comment specifically on Lucki’s letter.
“All of our organizations and agencies, including the RCMP, will continue to do their job to keep Canadians safe and make decisions consistent with their responsibilities,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said he never received the alleged CSIS briefings and memos at the center of the Global News story.
« Let’s be clear: I have no information and I have not been informed of any federal candidates receiving money from China, » Trudeau said last week.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday that allegations of election interference should be taken seriously.
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« We don’t want to see any interference with the ability of Canadians to make decisions about their future, » Singh told a news conference.
China has denied allegations of interference in the elections. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan said earlier this month that China « is not interested in Canada’s internal affairs. »
The Trudeau government recently unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy, which includes a plan to confront an « increasingly disruptive » China.