My mandate for my first report is to determine whether any further public process is required. My short answer is yes. I plan to hold a series of public hearings with Canadians (particularly from affected communities), government officials (including retired officials), knowledgeable experts, and other interested parties to discuss foreign interference, its effects on diaspora communities, and policy and governance improvements that could be made to improve the government’s response to it. I hope and believe that these public hearings will continue to shine a spotlight on the problem of foreign interference, provide public education about the threat of foreign interference, and provide a better foundation of information which I can use to make policy and governance recommendations for improvement. I also hope these hearings will accelerate government policy development to address foreign interference, stressing both the importance and urgency of action.These hearings will not focus on “who knew what and what did they do about it.” I have examined these issues, drawn conclusions, and provided as much information as possible to the public, as well as in a confidential annex to be viewed by the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet (as well as officials or Opposition Leaders with the requisite security clearance). I also recommend the Prime Minister refer my report, including the confidential annex, to the chairs of NSICOP and NSIRA so those bodies can review my conclusions and advise the Prime Minister, Parliament and the public if they disagree.I carefully considered whether an inquiry under the Inquiries Act could help enhance public trust in our electoral process, over and above the work I have done. When I was first appointed, my preliminary view was that I was very likely to recommend a Public Inquiry. But my conclusion is that, in light of the material and information that would lie at the heart of any inquiry, it could not be done in public. Rather, a “public inquiry” would necessarily be done in private and largely replicate the process I have undergone, and not advance the goals of transparency or trust any further than I have taken them and raise expectations that will ultimately be disappointed.
A thoughtful set of findings by David Johnston. He proposes public hearings on the policy and governance issues and a separate review by two national security bodies on the classified aspects of foreign interference. #cdnpoli https://t.co/SXLPpfoDuS— IReza (@IshatReza) May 23, 2023
Kind of fun to see our media mavens rolling on the floor, holding their breath, turning blue in paroxysms of rage when respected Canadians like the Hon. Paul Rouleau or the Right Honourable David Johnston, whose salaries don’t depend on clicks, tell them they’re all wet. 🤭— David Hamer 🇨🇦🇺🇦🇨🇦 (@DavidHamer_1951) May 24, 2023
“I have found no examples of ministers, the prime minister or their offices knowingly or negligently failing to act on intelligence, advice or recommendations on the issues I investigated related to the 2019 and 2021 elections.” https://t.co/Jdht8wOZOO #cdnpoli— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) May 23, 2023
If Johnson is right that the Globe and Global News have over-torqued their stories and reported things that are flat-out wrong, some reporters should thank God they’ve dodged the bullet of a public inquiry.— Mark Bourrie (@MarkBourrie) May 23, 2023
Has Sam Cooper responded to David Johnston calling his reporting false, or is he still doing a “I’m so fucking brilliant and everyone else is blinded to the truth” routine?— Evan Scrimshaw (@EScrimshaw) May 23, 2023
Personal aspersions aside, David Johnston's report is clear, discussing the worst allegations and dismissing many as misinformed reporting based on partisan leaks. What is a public inquiry supposed to reveal, more nothing? #cdnpoli— Scrappy McBuckyball (@ScrotieMcB) May 24, 2023
Pierre Poilievre continues to ragefarm, spitting gratitous insults about Johnston being Trudeau's "ski-buddy" (which happened once, when Trudeau was 12) The only leadership PP is showing today is leading his followers to smear Johnston:
Besides, Johnston is recommending public hearings so that those Cdns impacted by FI can have their say. It's just the investigation into CSIS doc handling that he's reserving for politicians who have chosen to get special security clearance and participate in the house cmte(s).— Kathryn Mathias (@KathrynMathias1) May 23, 2023
If ever there were a moment for an opposition leader to put aside partisanship and take a statesmanlike tone, this was it. But that appears to be beyond the current occupant of the position.— Andrew Coyne 🇺🇦 (@acoyne) May 23, 2023
Pierre again refuses to participate in NSICOP & instead chooses to #Ragefarm.— Jaro Giesbrecht (@JaroGiesbrecht) May 23, 2023
"He has no business in this job because it is a fake job that he is incapable of doing impartially, none of his recommendations can be taken seriously because he is in a conflict of interest." pic.twitter.com/nIXV3UvE5R
The best that Pierre PoiLIEvre could contribute was a package of news articles??? And... O'Toole went on to lie and say that the Cons were not approached by Johnson.— LJB (@LJB_OceanSide) May 24, 2023
How can anyone take this man and the Cons seriously is beyond my comprehension. #PierrePoilievreIsLyingToYou
"I look forward to party leaders choosing to actually get the security clearances necessary to see the facts that underpin this report," PM Trudeau says of David Johnston's report— Cheryl in Nova Scotia 🍁🇨🇦🦞 (@mini_bubbly) May 23, 2023
And I thought this was a useful perspective - I am seeing this AFP story in news outlets around the world:
Pierre Poilievre and his cult think Tamara Lich, Jordan Peterson, Rex Murphy, Conrad Black, Danielle Smith, Donald Trump & Putin are honorable people but David Johnston is not.— Clay Thompson (@harryt59_harry) May 23, 2023
I found a couple of more thoughtful wailing and gnashing commentaries on substacks tonight, too. In today's edition of Bug Eyed and Shamless, Justin Ling writes about Unravelling Chinese meddling In summary, he concludes:
Timely story from @AFP colleagues in Toronto on how the local Chinese diaspora has been caught in crossfire of a recent spat with Beijing https://t.co/VDdDPjRKas— Oliver Hotham (@OliverHotham) May 24, 2023
Over at The Line, Matt Gurney compares the Roulean and Johnston reports - Matt Gurney: The Johnston report is one of the most depressing things I've ever read -- and concludes...this whole ordeal happened because of this culture of secrecy. And it has been a long and painful process.And even if the news reports got plenty of specifics wrong, the thrust of the story is true: China ran a much more sustained and serious meddling operation in Canada than the public, or the rest of the world, ever knew.
But at least here is some good news:...One of Justice Rouleau's most staggering conclusions in the POEC report is that what gave the convoyers the advantage — they held the capital for three weeks, recall — was that many of them had a professional background that involved at least some real-world experience in logistics and event planning and management. The federal government, in contrast, had none of that. As I wrote in my column then, "If your job requires you to manage a bunch of projects at the same time and coordinate different teams, especially if you mix in a bit of expertise in event planning and fleet operations, you are apparently probably capable of overthrowing the Canadian state."Though Johnston was fairly polite and understated in making his case, this is broadly the version of things he is sketching out for us. Trudeau isn't compromised or corrupt, he's just atop a government that's so borked that the prime minister and his government couldn't have done any better. The machine is just too broken.
There is the usual chatter about whether the NDP will use the Johnston report as a reason to withdraw from their confidence agreement now instead of waiting another two years. In his Scrimshaw Unscripted column today, Evan Scrimshaw explores the possibility of a federal election - Federal Election 2023 A Delusional Dream - calling the idea that the NDP could benefit from a federal election this year as "the myth that won't die". They can't win, even if they pick up a few seats, but they could lose the whole NDP legislative agenda (national day care, dental care, etc) :
Trudeau opens door to letting Han Dong back in caucus after David Johnston says allegation is ‘false’ that the Toronto MP urged China to keep the two Michaels in jail. By @R_SPatel https://t.co/p5TELqTZrH via @torontostar— Tonda MacCharles (@TondaMacC) May 24, 2023
...the NDP forcing an election in 2023 would be the single stupidest decision in Canadian politics of my life and risk everything they claim to care about for no discernible policy upside, but hey, maybe they’re stupid enough to do it. I mean, they’re not, but let’s let Conservatives dream anyways.
It is #WorldGothDay, which I didn't know was a thing.— Craig Baird - Canadian History Ehx (@CraigBaird) May 22, 2023
I had some time to kill today, so here is a quick thread of Canadian politicians, past and present, as goths.
I did this quick, so its not exact. All in good fun.
Cooper and Fife and OToole and PP lied but they all have form and work for pretty disreputable organizations. No surprises.
PP was visibly uncomfortabe when questioed and scurried away quickly. Sihgn rode that folding bike backwards as fast as lis little legs would go.They both reailise that banging this drum is now a loser for them.
There were no threats to anyone and no disrupion of any election , but we knew that weeks ago. No surprises.
Someone 30 miles away is my neighbor. That did surprise me.
When Johnston took questions he displayed complete mastry of the file while speaking without notes.
Winners : Chung,Dong,Johnston.No surprises.
Losers : Cooper and Global, Fife and the Globe, PP, Jasmeed. No surprises.
Thanks -- I hadn't seen some of the interviews as they were happening, but Twitter was pretty negative on PP too, so I had the impression he did very poorly. The smearing of Johnston was very bad on Con twitter too.
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