NDP Leader Says He‘ll Remove Any MPs Who ’Knowingly Worked' for Foreign Governments

NDP Leader Says He‘ll Remove Any MPs Who ’Knowingly Worked' for Foreign Governments
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 21, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Spencer Colby)
Matthew Horwood

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will remove any MP from his caucus who is found to have “knowingly worked with a foreign government to undermine Canada,” following publication of the recent National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) report.

“If ... it’s clear to me that they knowingly worked with a foreign government to undermine Canada, I will immediately remove them from caucus,” Mr. Singh said during a press conference on June 10. “There’s no way I will approve them to run as a candidate, nor would I allow them to continue to sit in my caucus if they are named.”

Mr. Singh added that the leaders of the other federal parties should also remove any MPs named in the report, “if there was clear evidence or clear intelligence if someone knowingly worked with a foreign government to undermine our country.”

A June 3 report by NSICOP found that some parliamentarians had been “semi-witting or witting” participants in efforts by hostile foreign states to interfere in Canadian politics. The report said these efforts involved communicating with foreign missions before or during elections to get support from community groups or businesses, which the diplomatic missions pledged to discreetly mobilize in favour of a candidate, as well as “knowingly or through willful blindness” accepting funds from foreign diplomatic posts.

The report did not name any of the implicated MPs or senators, and said prosecution of the individuals was unlikely to take place due to Canada’s “failure to address the long-standing issue of protecting classified information and methods in judicial processes.”

NSICOP chair and Liberal MP David McGuinty has said the committee cannot release the names of the parliamentarians cited in the report, as members are bound by the Security of Information Act and waived their parliamentary privilege to sit on the committee. “That means if they inadvertently reveal information, they can be prosecuted,” he said.

The Conservatives have demanded that the names of the implicated lawmakers be released.

“We do not need secrets and confidentiality,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said on June 5. “That is what got us into this problem in the first place. We need the facts so that Canadians can judge.”

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc has said it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so as the government can’t “discuss particularities of intelligence information publicly.”

During question period on June 10, Mr. LeBlanc said the Liberal government supports a motion to have the Foreign Interference Commission investigate the issue of parliamentarians working on behalf of foreign states.
The motion, tabled by Bloc Québécois MP René Villemure earlier that day, asks for the commission’s terms of reference to be expanded to allow the investigation of  senators and MPs elected in 2019 and 2021.