Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has criticized the redactions in the National Security and Intelligence Committee’s report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India.
On Monday, Scheer tweeted an image that showed a section of the report with redactions up and down the page.
“The security report on Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to Indian was ‘released’ today. Unfortunately the Trudeau Liberals got to it first and redacted most of the information. So much for transparency,” he wrote.
It’s difficult to tell what the redactions were addressing — the very name of that section is redacted in the report.
Security sources told Global News’ Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson that they believed the Prime Minister’s Office redacted the report to try and transfer the blame for security lapses to the RCMP, CSIS and other intelligence agencies.
The sources said they have repeatedly requested changes to security protocols, but don’t believe the PMO takes the matter seriously enough.
The Prime Minister’s Office told Global News that neither Trudeau nor his office requested or directed any redactions. Instead, the prime minister accepted the redaction proposed by security officials.
The report, released Monday, blamed severe failings in the government’s vetting system for guest lists on foreign visits for the appearance of convicted attempted assassin Jaspal Atwal at official events in India.
However, many parts of the report were subject to redactions.
READ MORE: Security report on Trudeau’s India trip finds serious ‘gaps’ in vetting
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NDP MP Nathan Cullen, the party’s critic for ethics and democratic reform, joined Scheer in criticizing the report.
He noted that 10 out of the report’s 18 findings and three out of five recommendations were partially or completely redacted.
“The Prime Minister’s Office gets the last look and took out a big black pen. Real answers are under that black pen,” Cullen said on Twitter.
WATCH: Japsal Atwal contacted Liberal MP Randeep Sarai for invite to Trudeau event
The section on allegations of foreign interference in Canadian affairs was particularly heavy on redactions.
There were six findings with respect to allegations of foreign interference in the context of Trudeau’s trip to India.
All six were completely redacted.
That section was then followed by two recommendations: one stated that members of the House of Commons and Senate should be briefed on the risks of foreign interference and extremism, while the other one suggested that the role of the national security adviser be altered when it comes to intelligence matters.
The latter recommendation is vague, however, as key parts of it are redacted.
READ MORE: MPs, senators need briefings on extremism, foreign interference, committee report states
In a letter prefacing the report, Liberal MP David McGuinty, who chairs the National Security and Intelligence Committee, wrote that the report “was revised to remove content that was deemed injurious to national security and international relations,” in line with section 21(5) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) Act.
Section 21(5) of the NSICOP Act states that the prime minister can direct the committee to revise portions of annual or special reports that are deemed to contain information that could harm national security or international relations.
READ MORE: Andrew Scheer pitches Canadian oil to Indian PM Narendra Modi, touts trade ties
— With files from Mercedes Stephenson