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Ex-Canada Minister Karina Gould Says They Were Was Briefed On Chinese Interference After 2019 Elections

2024-04-11 06:49:23

Was Briefed On China's Interference After 2019 Elections: Ex-Canada Minister

Karina Gould said such attempts at foreign interference were not uncommon.


Former minister for Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) briefed her after the 2019 federal elections on low-level interference by China, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.

However, Gould clarified that despite these activities, the integrity of the vote remained intact.

Gould, who held the ministerial position from early 2017 to November 2019, testified before the foreign interference inquiry, noting that CSIS had informed her about Beijing’s involvement in the lead-up to the October 2019 elections. She added that such attempts at foreign interference were not uncommon, likening them to historical occurrences dating back to ancient Greece, CBC reported.

“Probably in every election that Canada has ever had, there have been attempts at foreign interference just like in probably every election in a democracy around the world — probably since ancient Greece — there have been attempts at foreign interference,” Gould said.

“Whether they are successful or not is another question,” she added.

On her involvement in addressing potential threats to the federal elections, Gould elaborated on the creation of the Panel of Five, a group of bureaucrats tasked with assessing such risks. She highlighted the panel’s decision not to issue a public alert despite attempts by China and other state actors to meddle with both the 2019 and 2021 elections, citing the panel’s determination that these attempts did not meet the threshold for public disclosure.

Significantly, both elections were won by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In defence of the panel’s high threshold, Gould said, “The very act of making a decision to announce something publicly could be seen as interference itself.”

She added that she abstained from being briefed on foreign interference during the 2019 elections due to her vested interest in the electoral outcome, deeming it inappropriate to receive such intelligence briefings.

The inquiry, overseen by Commissioner Marie-Josee Hogue, aims to evaluate the dissemination of information within the government regarding alleged meddling in the previous two federal elections, according to CBC.

Triggered by media reports and opposition demands, the inquiry delves into various claims, including allegations concerning former Liberal candidate Han Dong’s purported involvement in a Chinese foreign interference network during the 2019 elections.

Jeremy Broadhurst, the Liberals’ national campaign director for the 2019 federal elections, however, refuted these claims, stating that security officials merely provided information without making recommendations or advising specific actions to be taken.

Ahead of her testimony, Gould engaged with commission staff in a classified setting, where she addressed concerns related to the Don Valley North riding and alleged foreign interference during the Toronto-area nomination contest. She clarified that she was not briefed on these matters during or after the election.

Prime Minister Trudeau is also scheduled to testify, marking a significant moment in the inquiry’s proceedings.

While Trudeau’s appearance was initially intended to conclude this stage of the inquiry, Commissioner Hogue agreed to recall CSIS Director David Vigneault to respond to further inquiries about certain documents. Hogue’s interim report is expected in early May, with the inquiry transitioning to broader policy discussions thereafter, aiming for a final report by year-end, CBC reported.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Karina Gould,Canada Elections,2019 Canada Elections,Canadian Security Intelligence Service,China

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