Canada has initiated an independent public inquiry to investigate allegations of attempted foreign interference in Canadian affairs by countries such as China and Russia. The decision to establish the inquiry comes after months of demands from opposition parties for a public investigation into the government’s handling of intelligence indicating foreign influence attempts on Canadian elections and policy. Beijing has repeatedly denied any involvement in such interference.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the appointment of Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josee Hogue to lead the inquiry, with the unanimous support of all opposition parties. The inquiry’s terms of reference cover both state and non-state actors and will thoroughly investigate foreign interference efforts.
Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had appointed a special investigator to probe alleged election interference, but the investigator resigned prematurely due to widespread opposition to his appointment and work.
The move has been welcomed by opposition parties, with Pierre Poilievre, leader of the official opposition Conservative Party, emphasizing the need for real answers for Canadians. Hogue’s responsibilities include examining foreign interference and assessing the flow of information to senior decision-makers, including elected officials. She is expected to deliver an interim report by February 29 and a final report by December 2024.
The inquiry aims to safeguard Canada’s electoral processes and democratic institutions from foreign interference, reflecting the nation’s commitment to transparency and addressing concerns about potential foreign meddling.