OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been briefed on foreign election interference at least six times since 2018, according to a Privy Council Office (PCO) document tabled before a House of Commons committee Friday.
The PCO document, titled “Briefings on Foreign Election interference,” was tabled before the Procedure and House Affairs Committee (PROC) just before Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff, testified in front of the committee regarding the recent allegations that China meddled in Canada’s last two federal elections.
According to the document, Trudeau was briefed by either National Security and Intelligence adviser (NSIA) Jody Thomas, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) director David Vigneault, or both, on six different occasions over the past five years.
The first briefing came all the way back on October 22, 2018, and was followed by briefings on February 9, 2021, June 14, 2022, October 27, 2022, November 30, 2022, and March 20, 2023.
Trudeau chief of staff Katie Telford testifies
In her testimony in front of the committee Friday, Telford frequently declined to give specifics answers to questions related to the litany of allegations that the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) had interfered in both the 2021 and 2019 federal elections, citing reasons of national security.
“I can’t provide information about what I have or have not been briefed on in an intelligence setting in a public setting,” she said. “Publicly disclosing what our intelligence agencies know or how they come to know it can irreparably harm Canada’s national interests and put people’s lives in danger.”
Telford did state that the Trudeau government takes seriously “intelligence briefings of any kind,” and that if “there are actions to be taken to protect national security we do not hesitate.”
Telford also stated that foreign interference is a substantial and current threat in Canada but added that such meddling is something that “threatens all democracies.”
“It is not a new threat, but it is an evolving threat. It is a threat we will continue to do our utmost to guard against,” she asserted.
Pressed about why the Trudeau government has objected to holding a fully independent public inquiry into the Chinese election meddling scandal, Telford pointed to the fact that Trudeau did appoint former governor general David Johnston as “special rapporteur” to assess the matter.
Despite Johnston’s close personal ties to both the Trudeau family and the family’s now-embattled foundation — which this week saw its CEO and entire board quit amid the growing allegations it received funds linked to the CCP — Telford stated that the “bigger problem in terms of things festering at the moment is the partisanship and hyperbole that has been brought to this so often in the discussion.”
“It’s why the Special Rapporteur was necessary, because somebody had to be able to put their mind to it. That was out of this space, to figure out what those other appropriate next steps might be,” she added.
The newly revealed PCO document and Telford’s testimony are just two of the most recent developments in the ever-growing scandal that has plagued the Trudeau government in recent months.
While the allegations of Chinese meddling dating back over a year, the scandal really took off in February when the Globe and Mail reported, citing CSIS documents, that “an orchestrated machine was operating in Canada with two primary aims: to ensure that a minority Liberal government was returned in 2021, and that certain Conservative candidates identified by China were defeated.”
About a week later, matters were made worse when a Global News story broke reportedly showing that Trudeau was made aware of the allegations but did not take any action.
In late March, things boiled over for Trudeau when yet another Global News report broke, this time alleging that one of Trudeau’s own Liberal Party MPs, Han Dong, had asked a Chinese diplomat in February 2021 to delay the release of two Canadians held captive by the CCP regime.
While Dong denied the allegations, he nonetheless resigned from the Liberal Party as a result.