Michael Higgins: Trudeau’s latest gambit to deflect attention from Liberals a disaster for democracy

Two weeks ago, Justin Trudeau was at pains to dismiss explosive reports of election interference as inaccurate or racist. But backed into a very tight corner, a distraught Prime Minister emerged on Monday, guns blazing.

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It seemed Trudeau, whose job looks increasingly precarious by the day, was intent on making enough noise to drown out calls for a public inquiry into the matter.

To combat electoral interference, he will: appoint a special rapporteur; Start of consultations on a new transparency register for foreign influences; Established a “Foreign Influence Counter-Coordinator” in the Department of Public Safety in Canada; order new investigations by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP); and spend $5.5 million on civil society organizations to combat misinformation and review past committee recommendations and reports on election interference.

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Rather than deal seriously with the subject, all he has announced is just smoke and mirrors – a lame attempt at misleading a poor wizard who has long lost the ability to deceive people.

There are many questions that his suggestions will not answer, such as:

Have the Liberals been informed by national security officials that at least one Liberal candidate in 2019 was allegedly part of a Chinese meddling network? And did they intentionally ignore that warning because it was to their advantage? Did you know that 11 candidates in this election, nine of them Liberals according to the Globe and Mail, were favored by Beijing? Were Trudeau and his advisers also informed that China is working to defeat conservative candidates in 2021 so that a minority liberal government can be elected? Did you know how The Globe reported that in 2021, former Chinese consul-general in Vancouver Tong Xiaoling boasted about helping defeat two conservative candidates?

The essence of this scandal is not that there was electoral interference; The point is that the Liberals allegedly knew there was electoral interference but did nothing because it was to their advantage.

One of the most damning statements in the Canadian security intelligence leaks is a quote from a Chinese consulate official who said: “The Liberal Party of Canada becomes the only party that can support the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”

That’s why we need a public inquiry to find out what liberals knew, when they learned about it, and what they did or didn’t do with that information. Instead, Trudeau is making a fuss about appointing an independent special rapporteur who “will have a broad mandate.” You bet he will.

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The Special Rapporteur will make recommendations on how to protect democracy, will be responsible for “informing” the work of NSIRA, NSICOP and Elections Canada and will be expected to “identify gaps” in the electoral system. If this is not enough to keep the special rapporteur busy, he or she is also tasked with recommending whether the government should conduct a public inquiry, judicial review, or other investigation into election interference.

It would indeed be a special rapporteur if one person did all of that in the life of this Parliament, but that is certainly the point. From the day this scandal broke, Trudeau has been acutely aware that he is treading on very dangerous ground, the kind of ground where elections are lost or resignations made.

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Consider the way he tried to bury history.

There was the “Trump” card: giving reasons to distrust elections is not good for society, “that’s something we’ve seen from elsewhere,” Trudeau said, echoing a senior liberal who supported the opposition openly accused of “Trump-style tactics”. ”

The party card: He accused the opposition of “sowing confusion and distrust” by even raising the allegations.

The All Lies card: “We are very concerned about the (Globe) leaks, especially because there are so many inaccuracies in those leaks.”
And of course the racism card: he referenced “a rise in anti-Asian racism” to deflect a question on the subject.

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Then on Monday, in an undignified and shameless act, he threw in the two Michaels cards: “We have been working day and night to bring back the two Michaels after they were arbitrarily arrested in China, including over the course of the 2019 and 2021 elections. “

What the hell do the two Michaels have to do with this?

Could it be that the prime minister, in the depths of his misery, has used up so many cards that he’s no longer playing with a full deck?

With this latest political sleight of hand, Trudeau may have avoided a public scrutiny and kept a spotlight on what liberals knew and when. But a triumph for Trudeau is a disaster for democracy.

Trudeau now joins those die-hard politicians who have depraved and corrosively sacrificed the search for truth on the altar of expediency.

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