Trudeau Says Concerns About Collusion Report Relate to Interpretation, Cites Singh and May Disagreement

Trudeau Says Concerns About Collusion Report Relate to Interpretation, Cites Singh and May Disagreement
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to talk to reporters at the Ukraine peace summit media centre at the Burgenstock Resort in Obburgen, Switzerland on June 16, 2024. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Andrew Chen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government’s concerns with some conclusions of a recent intelligence watchdog report on foreign collusion by parliamentarians are related to interpretation of the information, pointing to differing opinions among other party leaders who have read it in full.

“The government has already highlighted that there are a number of conclusions in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians [NSICOP] report that we don’t entirely align with,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in a June 16 press conference in Switzerland where he was attending the Summit on Peace in Ukraine.

He said this is “demonstrated by the fact” that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Co-Leader Elizabeth who have read the un-redacted report “come to differing conclusions on the interpretation of what it means.”

The NSICOP, comprised of MPs and senators who review the activities of Canada’s national security and intelligence agencies, concluded in its June 3 report that some parliamentarians had been “semi-witting or witting” participants in efforts by hostile foreign states to interfere in Canadian politics.
Mr. Singh, after reading the unredacted version of the report on June 13, expressed alarm and labelled the implicated MPs as “traitors.” He previously vowed to remove any MP who “knowingly worked” for foreign governments, but has since said he would not need to remove any members from his caucus.
Ms. May expressed feeling “relieved” after reading the unredacted report on June 11, saying she has “no worries about anyone in the House of Commons.” However, she also said that some named individuals ”may be compromised,“ describing them as ”beneficiaries of foreign governments interfering in nomination contests.”

Mr. Trudeau was asked June 15 if any Liberal MPs were named in the NSICOP report, considering the NDP and Green parties’ comments. In response, he said, “I will let Mr. Singh and Ms. May speak for themselves.”

The Conservatives have urged the Liberal government to disclose the names of MPs involved in foreign interference, saying that withholding this information casts suspicion on all lawmakers. Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre has declined to obtain clearance to read the classified NSICOP report, saying he does not want to be limited in what he can tell Canadians.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc has resisted calls to release the names of accused parliamentarians. He said publicly disclosing the names amid ongoing investigations would be irresponsible and could lead to his prosecution. However, the Liberals have supported a Bloc Québécois motion to refer the issue to the ongoing Foreign Interference Commission.

The commission said on June 17 it has taken note of the motion and that it will begin its examination of the issue.

The commission has been investigating allegations foreign interference in Canada’s federal elections in 2019 and 2021. The commission released an interim report in early May stating that while interference did not impact the overall results of these elections, it may have influenced outcomes in specific ridings.

Matthew Horwood and Noé Chartier contributed to this report.