Following the refusal of the leaders of the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois to gain the necessary security clearance, Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the NDP, has asked the prime minister to permit more members of his party to receive briefings on attempts at foreign involvement.
Singh requested that those two slots be offered to members of his staff who would be present with him at the briefings in a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday.
After examining the intelligence, Singh also requested Trudeau for a briefing on what he can and cannot say.
“I expect that I would be able to speak … freely about my conclusions based on the intelligence I am allowed to view and that my ability to be critical of the government’s actions will not be constrained,” Singh said in his letter to Trudeau.
“I will be seeking assurances on this point in writing.”
Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Tories, and Yves-François Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc, both claimed in rejecting Trudeau’s offer that it appeared to be an attempt to coerce them into agreeing not to discuss the claims in public.
In his first report on foreign influence released on Tuesday, special rapporteur David Johnston recommended that opposition leaders use the chance to learn how he came to his conclusions on alleged attempts to meddle with the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
According to Johnston, only individuals with the appropriate security clearance would be given access to the secret material.
Although Johnston pledged to convene some public hearings of his own, opposition party leaders expressed their discontent with his findings since it advised against a public inquiry into foreign meddling.
More information being made public, according to the former governor general, runs the risk of betraying the confidence of Canada’s security friends and jeopardizing intelligence sources.
The NDP is supporting the Liberal government with a confidence-and-supply pact, according to the Conservatives, so Singh can compel it to convene a public investigation.
In exchange for progress on common aims, the New Democrats promised to support the minority Liberals in confidence votes until 2025.
Singh stated that he does not now wish to withdraw from that arrangement, but he will continue to look for additional methods to put pressure on the Liberal government.
Following a number of media reports that raised concerns about possible Chinese interference in Canada’s most recent two federal elections, Singh claimed in his letter that a public inquiry would restore confidence in the country’s institutions.
The media stories, which claimed anonymous national security sources and secret documents, were reported to lack context, according to Johnston’s initial article.
He claimed that he had not discovered any proof that the Liberal government had purposefully disregarded national security services’ suggestions or attempts at involvement. However, he did discover significant gaps in the way the government shares intelligence.
“I believe that confidence in our democratic institutions has been damaged by your decision to not call a public inquiry into foreign interference,” Singh’s letter said.
“There is still time to repair this damage and, once again, I urge you to reverse course and call the rigorous, public and independent inquiry that Canadians deserve.”