Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister is under immense pressure on the issue of foreign interference, and it is no wonder, when he cannot answer very simple, basic questions and instead resorts to feigning outrage on every possible pretext. How dare the opposition ask these questions. How dare we insinuate that the people involved are failing to put the national interest first. How dare we suggest that ministers have not been sufficiently strong or definitive on this important issue.
My question is, how dare the government persist in trying to hide the truth. If it persists in obfuscating and hiding what happened, Canadians are going to legitimately wonder why. Why can the Liberals not come clean on the issue of election interference? Why will they not work with us to find out what happened and help root out foreign interference instead of flailing around and trying to blame everyone else? In all likelihood, it is because they already know things, and if the public found out, they would be very disappointed in the government's failure to stand up for national security.
It has been widely reported, based on information shared with the media by CSIS, that the communist regime in Beijing sought to interfere in Canadian elections. In many ways, this is not surprising to those who have been following the operations of the communist regime, but the details are particularly troubling. This regime wanted, as reports indicate, to re-elect Liberals and defeat Conservatives, especially to defeat certain Conservatives.
It is not surprising this would be the case, since former Liberal minister John McCallum directly invited this kind of interference right before it happened. He told the South China Morning Post, “Anything that is more negative against Canada will help the Conservatives, [who] are much less friendly to China than the Liberals. I hope and I don’t see any reason why things will get worse; it would be nice if things will get better between now and [the] election.”
The Liberals directly and publicly invited foreign interference, and they knew about that foreign interference. They were in fact briefed that one of their candidates was believed to have been complicit with the communist regime in getting illegal foreign support in a nomination race. The Liberals were briefed on this and they did nothing. The sad reality is that the Liberals are increasingly behaving as if foreign governments are stakeholders to woo for support in domestic elections. That is dead wrong, and it is a grave threat to our national security.
Clearly, many who are responsible for protecting our security have become frustrated with the approach of the government. They have increasingly spoken to the media directly. According to media reports, CSIS has begun an outreach program directly to MPs, and now we are seeing leaks from CSIS to multiple media outlets. The government should be listening to our security agencies and addressing their pressing concerns about foreign interference, rather than dismissing them and trying to distract from them with all manner of baseless excuses.
The Conservatives believe that Canada needs a public inquiry into what happened, an inquiry with the capacity to hold powerful people and, in particular, powerful members of the government accountable. The Liberals have tried to obfuscate by creating a new made-up position, a special rapporteur they would appoint and set the terms of, and they have said NSICOP should look further into this. We know NSICOP has been working on issues to do with foreign interference for a very long time, but this is a secret committee with no mandate to report anything publicly unless it has the permission of the Prime Minister to report it first.
Foreign state-backed interference has been the greatest threat to our national security for a long time. The Liberals like to say that the purpose of such interference is to cause chaos and confusion. That is sometimes but not always the case. Sometimes the purpose of foreign interference is simply for another country to advance its interests, steal information, elect more pliant politicians and punish critics. These are the kinds of things the Beijing regime is doing. It must stop, and we need a government that is actually prepared to put a stop to it.