Under pressure to hold a public inquiry to investigate China’s alleged interference in Canadian elections, Justin Trudeau instead, appointed a Liberal insider, former governor general David Johnston as a special rapporteur to investigate and to determine whether a public inquiry should be held.
The public can have no confidence in Johnston’s conclusions for the following reasons:
- Johnston had a warm personal relationship with China’s president Xi Jinping. In 2017 they met in Beijing at which time the Chinese president called Johnston “an old friend to the Chinese people”. Johnston replied “it’s wonderful to be back in China, I feel like I have returned home”
- In 2017 Trudeau described Johnston as a “family friend” whom he has known since he was a child. Johnston was Trudeau’s neighbour in the Laurentians where they had adjacent cottages.
- Johnston is a member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. The latter received a $200,000 donation from the communist Beijing government which the foundation hastily returned when the controversy broke.
- In 2019 Johnston was appointed by Trudeau to head the disastrous Leaders’ Debates Commission. Johnston handpicked his advisory board for the Commission, where six of the seven members held a left leaning perspective. The advisory board refused to allow two conservative media outlets to cover the election campaign – until a Federal Court ordered them to do otherwise. The advisory board went on to select five female feminist journalists to lob soft ball questions at Prime Minister Trudeau during the debate. The moderator of the debate was a female CBC journalist. The Commission under Johnston was a disaster.
Johnston’s Role as Special Rapporteur
Johnston’s role as special rapporteur is not to actually investigate the problem since the information on communist intervention in Canadian elections is based on the leaks from the formidable Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Rather, Johnston’s role as special rapporteur is to smooth over Trudeau’s behaviour, apparently indifferent and careless of the CSIS information.
Johnston’s gig is only just another play in the Liberal government’s usual operations – namely deny, cover-up, and, if it can’t be avoided, hold a farcical review. Johnston’s appointment falls right on the heels of other such manoeuvers by the Liberal government, including the review of the Canadian elections by Morris Rosenberg, former CEO of the Trudeau Foundation which, naturally, found no evidence of foreign activity. Another review was that of the Emergencies Act by Paul Rouleau, who was, at one time, executive assistant for former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner, and who found little fault in Trudeau’s “appropriate” invoking of the Emergencies Act. See article (“A Whitewash of the Emergencies Act”) in this issue.
Simply put, the purpose of Johnston’s appointment is to turn Trudeau’s political lemon into a palatable beverage for the public’s consumption.
We already know what Johnston, who is the personification of eastern liberal elites, i.e. the establishment, is going to say. He will comment on Canada’s long history with China, a powerful economic and political world leader, with whom Canada was a significant trade partner. Consequently he will conclude that Trudeau was obliged to proceed with discretion and caution when dealing with China. We can also be certain that should Johnston actually recommend a public inquiry, it will have a very limited mandate.
Out of 38 million Canadians why did Trudeau choose a close family friend as special rapporteur? His appointment makes clear that Trudeau has no intention of exposing the facts on Chinese interference in Canadian elections.
Dispensing with the Special Rapporteur
We should just dispense with Johnston as a special rapporteur, which effectively only delays the obvious necessity of a public inquiry.
Johnston’s appointment exposes the Liberal government’s incompetency and dishonesty, focusing on its self interest in retaining power, to the detriment of the Canadian public.