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UDPATE: This article was updated on Friday, April 5 to include a statement given to LifeSiteNews by Elections Canada clarifying that it is the Commissioner of Canada Elections, not Elections Canada, tasked with investigating potential violations of the Canada Elections Act. 

OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– The public inquiry into alleged meddling in Canada’s two most recent federal elections by agents of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began last week with public testimony from Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault, who confirmed he was secretly warned by security agents of irregularities in the 2019 election.

“The Party is the only entity that controls the nomination process,” Perrault testified at the Commission last Thursday.

Elections Canada contacted LifeSiteNews regarding an earlier version of this report, which it said seemed to imply that “Elections Canada could have done more to address some of the allegations of interference but decided not to.”

Elections Canada clarified that it “does not have a mandate to investigate potential violations of the Canada Elections Act. That role belongs to the Commissioner of Canada Elections, whose mandate is to enforce and ensure compliance with the Act, including by conducting investigations and using enforcement measures when necessary.”

The inquiry is being headed by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, who had earlier said that she and her lawyers will remain “impartial” and will not be influenced by politics and began on January 29.

In January, Hogue said that she would “uncover the truth whatever it may be.”

“The role of a Commission of Inquiry is to investigate the facts in order to understand what happened in a given situation. Under its mandate, it carries out an objective search of the truth while identifying specific matters, draws conclusions and make recommendations to the government,” she said.

The inquiry last Thursday learned that security agents had secretly warned Perrault of irregularities that took place at a 2019 nomination meeting in a Toronto riding, Don Valley North.

Nando de Luca, Nando Commission counsel for the Conservative Party, asked Perrault to provide more details about the incident, asking him, “Am I correct those concerns related to the Liberal Party nomination contest?”

“I believe I am not authorized to speak beyond what is in this public statement,” Perrault replied.

The tip from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to Perrault was disclosed by Daniel Sheppard, who is counsel for the Commission.

“You were informed by the CSIS of one fact-specific matter. Is that correct?” Sheppard asked.

“That is correct,” Perrault replied.

  • Counsel Sheppard: “My understanding is you were informed by CSIS of a fact situation that could have involved foreign interference related to voting in the nomination contest in the riding of Don Valley North, Ontario. Is that correct?”
  • Perrault: “That is correct … ”
  • Counsel Sheppard: “You referred a matter to the Officer of the Commissioner of Canada Elections?”
  • Perrault: “Correct … ”
  • Counsel Sheppard: “Is there anything else you are able to say in a public setting about the information you received from CSIS that we just discussed?”
  • Perrault: “No.”

The Foreign Interference Commission, as it is known, “will examine and assess the interference by China, Russia, and other foreign states or non-state actors, including any potential impacts, in order to confirm the integrity of, and any impacts on, the 43rd and 44th general elections (2019 and 2021 elections) at the national and electoral district levels.”

The first set of hearings, or “Stage 1,” will take place from now until April 10 and include a host of witnesses that will include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many others who have not been named.

Also set to testify is former Liberal MP Han Dong and former Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan, both of whom have been victims of alleged CCP interference.

The “Stage 2” part of the public inquiry will take place this fall and will look at the Trudeau government’s ability to both detect and fight foreign interference targeting Canada’s electoral processes.

The hearings are being held at the Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa.

Chief Electoral Officer claims it was not his job to ‘certify’ integrity of election

During testimony, Perrault claimed that his agency had done a good job, saying, “I believe we have one of the most robust and complete political financing regimes in the world,” noting that this “does not make it perfect.”

He claimed that it was not his job to in effect police elections, saying that as Chief Electoral Officer “I am not called upon to certify the integrity of an election.”

“What I am called upon to do is account for it and provide evidence regarding my administration of the election for others, including participants who may wish to challenge,” he said.

Gib van Ert, counsel for the Conservative MP Michael Chong, who was the target of election interference from agents of the CCP, asked him, “But you’re concerned about the integrity of elections?”

“Of course,” Perrault replied.

“And so when you are considering the integrity, do I have it right that if you felt 330 of the local elections had integrity but eight lacked integrity, you wouldn’t say to yourself, ‘Well, close enough, we’ve come pretty close to 338,’” asked van Ert, adding, “You are having to hold yourself and your agency to a standard of 338?”

“I would report if I know of incidents that affect the integrity of an election,” Perrault said in reply, adding, “If I am aware of factual information that affects that, even if it is one electoral district, I would include that in my report to Parliament.”

Perrault had earlier told MPs that he saw no evidence of CCP interference but admitted that he did not look into this.

Perrault was the first to testify, earlier told MPs in 2022, “There may be offences that are committed that we find out after the fact and there may be investigations that are or are not underway that I would know about but with the information I have, I have no reason to believe the election was not a free and fair election.”

Perrault has said that he has “no specific intelligence or evidence in that regard” whether the 2019 and 2021 federal elections were disrupted by foreign actors.

When it comes to the CCP, many Canadians, especially pro-freedom Chinese Canadians, are concerned considering Trudeau’s past praise for China’s “basic dictatorship” and his labeling of the authoritarian nation as his favorite country other than his own.

The potential meddling in Canada’s elections by agents of the CCP has many Canadians worried as well.

The federal government under Trudeau has been slow in responding to allegations of CCP election meddling after announcing on September 7, 2023, that it would be launching a public inquiry led by Hogue.

The public inquiry comes after Trudeau launched a failed investigation into CCP allegations last year after much delay. That inquiry was not done in the public and was headed by “family friend” and former Governor General David Johnston, whom Trudeau appointed as “independent special rapporteur.”

Johnston quit as “special rapporteur” after a public outcry following his conclusion that there should not be a public inquiry into the matter. Conservative MPs demanded Johnston be replaced over his ties to both China and the Trudeau family.

To date, the evidence that parliamentary committees have uncovered shows that Canadian authorities were aware that agents of the CCP were targeting MPs from opposition parties but decided against taking any action.