NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he is not “ruling out” making a public inquiry into foreign interference a condition for continuing the governance deal with the federal Liberals, but says that is not a decision he is making just yet.
Singh told The Roy Green Show on Saturday that he plans to bring up the issue of foreign interference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during their meetings on the confidence-and-supply agreement signed between the New Democrats and Liberals.
His comments come as cross-party pressure mounts on the federal government amid allegations of Chinese meddling in Canadian elections.
“I’m not precluding in any way ruling out that it could come to a point that we’ve got to exercise that ability. That’s something we absolutely have the ability to do,” Singh said in the interview.
“I’m just saying that’s not a decision we’re making today.”
Green asked: “The agreement is in play depending on the situation. Is that what I hear you saying?”
“It’s always in play,” Singh said. “It’s going to be a constant question that we ask ourselves throughout the term of the agreement. We’re going to constantly ask questions, ‘Do we want to continue or not? Is the government doing what’s needed or not?’ It’s an ongoing question.”
The Roy Green Show is part of the Corus Entertainment radio network. Corus is the parent company of Global News.
On Thursday, a House of Commons committee investigating allegations of foreign interference in recent federal elections adopted a motion that called for a public inquiry into the matter.
Conservative and Bloc Quebecois members of the House of Commons’ Procedure and House Affairs Committee voted in favour of the NDP motion, which seeks to launch “a national public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic system.”
Liberal MPs on the committee voted against the measure.
Although it’s non-binding, the motion further ratchets up the pressure on Trudeau, who has faced growing calls to launch an inquiry after multiple media reports detailed alleged attempts by China to influence the 2019 and 2021 elections.
The reports from Global News and the Globe and Mail have also called into question how much Trudeau and Canadian officials may have known about the alleged interference attempts, and whether the allegations should have been shared with the public earlier.
The NDP now plans to bring a similar motion to the House of Commons as a whole.
“We want to actually protect our democracy,” Singh said.
“We think that this is clearly something that cries out for a public inquiry, the non-partisan independent transparency, where the goal is to safeguard our elections and safeguard our democracy.”
He said a public inquiry will not only instill confidence in Canadians, but could also help prevent something like this from happening again.
“We don’t want things to escalate any further, so let’s stop this in its tracks, let’s nip this in the bud, take these really concerning allegations seriously and do everything we can to identify the exact nature of the problem and look at real solutions so that we can prevent this from happening in the future.”
— With files from Global News’ Sean Boynton and Aaron D’Andrea
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