Government of Canada launches public inquiry into foreign interference
Ottawa, Ontario, September 7, 2023 - Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, announced the establishment of a Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions.
The announcement of this inquiry follows extensive consultations with all recognized parties in the House of Commons. All parties have agreed to the Terms of Reference and the appointment of the Commissioner.
The inquiry will be led by the Honourable Marie-Josée Hogue, puisne judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal, whose work as Commissioner will begin on September 18, 2023.
As one of Canada's leading litigators, Justice Hogue was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Quebec in 2015. Justice Hogue has appeared before all levels of the Quebec courts and the Supreme Court of Canada, and frequently appeared before domestic and international arbitration tribunals. Justice Hogue was named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2009, received the Avocate émérite (Ad. E.) distinction from the Barreau du Québec in 2012, and has been recognized in many peer-reviewed listings.
Justice Hogue is mandated to examine and assess interference by China, Russia and other foreign states or nonstate actors, including any potential impacts, to confirm the integrity of, and any impacts on, the 43rd and 44th federal general elections at the national and electoral district levels.
Justice Hogue is also mandated to assess the capacity of federal entities to detect, deter and counter foreign interference targeting Canada’s democratic processes, and to make any recommendations she deems appropriate to better protect Canada’s democratic processes from foreign interference, including in relation to the creation and dissemination of intelligence, relevant supports and protections for members of diasporas, and the mechanisms that were in place to protect the integrity of 43rd and 44th elections.
Appointed under the Inquiries Act, the Commissioner will operate independently from the government and will have a full range of powers, including the power to compel witnesses and testimony on matters within federal jurisdiction, and broad access to classified and unclassified documents.
The Commissioner is directed to deliver an interim report by February 29, 2024, and a final report by December 2024. The Commissioner may deliver a classified report containing any relevant classified content, if required, and a report suitable for disclosure to the public. To foster transparency and a better understanding of the findings, leaders of all parties recognized in the House of Commons with appropriate clearance will be invited to review classified versions of the Commissioner’s reports.
The Government of Canada will continue to take steps to counter foreign interference and ensure Canada’s democracy remains one of the strongest in the world.
“I thank Justice Hogue for agreeing to lead this inquiry. She will be able to undertake her work with the full support of all recognized parties in the House. I also want to thank the Opposition House Leaders for their willingness to work in a non-partisan fashion, in the interest of our country, to ensure Canada’s democratic institutions remain strong and resilient.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
On March 6, 2023, the Government of Canada announced a series of measures to take further action on foreign interference and strengthen Canadians’ confidence in our democracy. Measures included:
- asking the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to complete a review of the state of foreign interference in federal electoral processes;
- asking the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) to complete a review of how Canada’s national security agencies handled the threat of foreign interference during the 43rd and 44th federal general elections;
- launching public consultations to guide the creation of a Foreign Influence Transparency Registry in Canada to ensure transparency and accountability from people who advocate on behalf of a foreign government;
- establishing a new National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator in Public Safety Canada to coordinate efforts to combat foreign interference; and
- investing $5.5 million to strengthen the capacity of civil society partners to counter disinformation.
On April 6, 2023, Minister LeBlanc and then Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Janice Charette, delivered a report to the Prime Minister entitled Countering an Evolving Threat: Update on Recommendations to Counter Foreign Interference in Canada’s Democratic Institutions.
The Government also received two reports by the Independent Special Rapporteur on Foreign Interference, the Right Honourable David Johnston, on May 23 and June 26, 2023.
Most recently, Minister LeBlanc announced additional measures to protect the June 19th and July 24th by-elections through enhanced monitoring and assessment of foreign interference threats by the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force (SITE).
For more information (media only), please contact:
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
Privy Council Office
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