Friday, November 11, 2022 – La Minute Monocle
Opinion / Amy Van Denberg
Under the influence?
Welcome to the Canadian club. This week, a report by broadcaster Global News claimed that the North American nation could, like the United States, be subject to foreign political interference. China allegedly interfered in the 2019 general election – in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won his second term – by placing operatives in the offices of sitting MPs and funding a secret network of candidates . Beijing denies the information.
If the claims turn out to be true, it would hardly be surprising. China has become an increasingly aggressive global power, and exerting its influence on the Canadian democratic process covertly would allow it to target the United States by proxy. It is also concerning that, according to the report, Trudeau and several members of his party were informed of the interference in January by Canadian intelligence officials.
The Prime Minister may have decided to prioritize the long-awaited Indo-Pacific Strategy, which will be unveiled next month, but many MPs want more. “Trudeau has failed to protect our democracy,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said on Wednesday, calling for an investigation by a parliamentary committee. Others are calling for the creation of a register of foreign agents similar to those in Australia and the United States – something that has been on the table for years.
That’s the last thing Trudeau needs. His party has already been investigating for four weeks his use of extreme powers to disband the February Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. Besides the serious implications of the allegations for Canadian security and sovereignty, the alleged interference by China makes the position of the Prime Minister’s Liberal Party even more fragile than it already is. Trust in Trudeau is waning and one more embarrassment could push him over the edge.
Amy van den Berg is associate editor for Monocle’s books division.