As Poilievre presses on election interference, Trudeau calls suggestion he isn't loyal to Canada 'despicable' – CBC News
Questions about whether the Prime Minister’s Office was briefed on alleged Chinese interference in the 2019 election dominated question period again on Wednesday — with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling suggestions that he isn’t loyal to Canada “despicable.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre tried multiple times Wednesday to get the prime minister to respond to allegations that he and his national security adviser were warned that Chinese government officials were funnelling money to Canadian political candidates — despite their claims to the contrary.
According to reporting by Global News, the Privy Council Office prepared a report for the Trudeau government warning that Chinese officials in Toronto had disbursed money to a “covert network tasked to interfere in Canada’s 2019 election.”
“A large clandestine transfer of funds earmarked for the federal election from the PRC Consulate in Toronto was transferred to an elected provincial government official via a staff member of a 2019 federal candidate,” the report says, according to Global.
Global reported similar allegations back in November — that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) briefed Trudeau in January 2022 on Chinese efforts to interfere in that election. The interference reportedly included the Chinese government sending money to at least 11 candidates.
“We have no information on any federal candidates receiving money from China. That is still the case,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons Wednesday.
WATCH: Trudeau cites MPs’ meeting with far-right politician as Poilievre presses on election interference
Poilievre asked all the questions directed at the prime minister Wednesday. He pressed Trudeau to state which staffers received briefings and “how much his party got in illegal donations funnelled from Beijing.”
“He’s not interested in protecting the safety of the people serving this country. He’s interested in protecting the Liberal Party of Canada,” said Poilievre.
The day before, the Conservative leader suggested to reporters that security officials have been leaking allegations about election interference to the media because they “must be very worried about how the prime minister is working against the interests of his own country and his own people.”
“And so they are so concerned about how the prime minister is acting against Canada’s interest and in favour of a foreign dictatorship’s interests, that they are actually releasing this information publicly,” he said Tuesday.
Trudeau said it was “despicable” for an MP to question the loyalty of another member of Parliament.
“To suggest that anyone in this house isn’t devoted to serving Canadians, and keeping those who serve Canada in dangerous positions safe, is quite disgusting,” he said Wednesday during a rowdy exchange with the opposition.
The Conservative leader responded that “no drama lesson” would distract him from his questions and, again, pushed for more information about the alleged funding.
“I’ve asked it multiple times. I find it incredible that he can’t stand up and answer with a zero,” Poilievre said.
Trudeau then suggested Poilievre was trying to backtrack “from his heinous and disgusting accusations of disloyalty to Canada.”
The testy question period followed weeks of questions about China’s interference in the past two elections and what the federal government knew about it.
A panel of civil servants set up to monitor for foreign meddling during the last two elections said that while they did observe attempts at interference, it did not reach a level that would have threatened the integrity of the results.
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Trudeau deflected specific queries while acknowledging Canadians have unanswered questions about China’s role in the past two elections.
WATCH: Trudeau questioned about foreign interference claims
He suggested a recently announced special rapporteur and two intelligence agencies are better placed to look into what kind of information was shared with whom.
“To be quite honest, I know that no matter what I say, Canadians continue to have questions about what we did and what we didn’t,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill Wednesday.
“It is of concern to people that China continues to try to interfere, and other countries are interfering in our democratic processes.”
Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser, Jody Thomas, told a committee in December she saw no evidence that any candidates in the 2019 federal election were influenced by money from the Chinese government.
“The news stories that you have read about interference are just that — news stories,” Thomas said.
“I’ll just say it — we’ve not seen money going to 11 candidates, period.”
On Wednesday, Trudeau said a recently announced special rapporteur will “dig deeply into everything anyone knew at any point.”
He has also tasked two intelligence watchdogs — the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) — to look into the allegations and how the intelligence agencies responded.
He said they “have access to all top-secret documents, all briefings that might have been made or could have been made, or were not made from CSIS.”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Trudeau’s responses to questions on this topic have been lacking.
“The prime minister is signalling that he’s not taking this seriously and is somewhat being dismissive and also in his action is seeming like there’s more and more to hide. All of this is not helping Canadians have confidence in their electoral system, and it’s why we need to have a public inquiry,” he said before question period
“Let’s figure out what we can do to prevent this and reinforce our election system.”
Trudeau has said a special rapporteur could recommend a public inquiry.
A spokesperson for the People’s Republic of China denies the claim that it interfered in Canada’s elections.
“China always opposes interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We have no interest in and will not interfere in Canada’s internal affairs,” Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a media briefing Wednesday.
“It’s absurd that some in Canada are making an issue about China based on disinformation and lies.”
What does Trump’s indictment mean for American politics?
Donald Trump is expected to become the first former or sitting US president to face criminal charges.
Donald Trump is expected to appear before a New York court on Tuesday, where he will become the first former or sitting US president to face criminal charges.
The charges have not been revealed yet, but a grand jury has been investigating a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an extramarital affair with Trump which he has always denied.
Media reports in the US suggest the former president may face other charges, too.
Trump denies all wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the Democrats, whom he accuses of trying to derail his 2024 election campaign.
Presenter: Laura Kyle
Adolfo Franco – Republican strategist and chief counsel to the chairman of the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives
Claire Finkelstein – Law and philosophy professor at the University of Pennsylvania and faculty director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law
Rina Shah – Founder of Rilax Strategies, a political and public affairs communications firm
Ivanka Trump breaks silence on her dad’s indictment
Ivanka Trump breaks silence on her dad’s indictment
Presidential historian Tim Naftali discusses Ivanka Trump’s statement about her dad, former President Donald Trump, being indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.
Ivanka Trump has broken her silence on her father’s criminal indictment to say that she is “pained” for both her parent and her country.
Donald Trump’s daughter finally released a brief statement on Instagram just before midday ET on Friday – around 18 hours after a grand jury voted to indict the former president on criminal charges over the 2016 hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.
“I love my father and I love my country. Today I am pained for both,” she wrote.
“I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
On Thursday 30 March, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Mr Trump on criminal charges over hush money payments to adult film star Ms Daniels days just before the 2016 presidential election.
The unprecedented indictment makes Mr Trump the first current or former president to ever face criminal charges in the history of the US.
It is currently unclear what the charges are but multiple reports say that Mr Trump is facing more than 30 counts related to business fraud.
Court officials have confirmed that he will appear in court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon for his arraignment.
The indictment is said to have caught Mr Trump off guard after it was announced that the grand jury was taking a weeks-long break from hearing the case.
As soon as the news broke, Mr Trump’s adult sons Eric Trump and Don Trump Jr leaped into action raging against what they described as “third world prosecutorial misconduct”.
“This is third world prosecutorial misconduct,” tweeted Eric. “It is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year.”
Meanwhile, Don Jr branded it a “weaponization of our Govt against their political enemies” on Twitter before railing against the indictment during a somewhat emotional appearance on his show Triggered with Don Jr that night.
“Let’s be clear, folks, this is like communist-level s***,” he said. “This is stuff that would make Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, it would make them blush.”
He later shared a tweet from another social media user which sought to claim that his father’s indictment was an attempt to distract from the school shooting which left six victims dead in Nashville earlier this week.
While Don and Eric both raged about the indictment, Ivanka – who worked as a top adviser in Mr Trump’s White House – was silent on the matter for many more hours.
Manhattan prosecutors have been investigating whether Mr Trump falsified the Trump Organization’s business records when his former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen made the payment of $130,0000 to Ms Daniels.
Prosecutors claim that the money was used to silence Ms Daniels about an alleged affair she had with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has long denied having an affair with the adult film star.
Mr Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Cohen was convicted of tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations related to the payments to Ms Daniels. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Pakistan’s political heavyweights take their street battles to the courts — as a weary nation looks on
Pakistan’s leaders and the man who wants to unseat them are engaged in high stakes political brinkmanship that is taking a toll on the collective psyche of the nation’s people – and many are exhausted.
As their politicians argue, citizens struggle with soaring inflation against an uptick in militant attacks. In major cities, residents regularly navigate police roadblocks for protests, school closures and internet shutdowns. And in the northern province of Kyber Pakhtunkhua, three people died last Thursday in a stampede to get subsidized bags of flour.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government is attempting to unlock billions of dollars in emergency financing from the International Monetary Fund, a process delayed since last November – but some people aren’t prepared to wait.
Government statistics show a surge in the number of citizens leaving Pakistan – up almost threefold in 2022 compared to previous years.
Zainab Abidi, who works in tech, left Pakistan for Dubai last August and says her “main worry” is for her family, who she “really hopes can get out.”
Others, like Fauzia Rashif, a cleaner in Islamabad, don’t have the option to leave.
“I don’t have a passport, I’ve never left the country. These days the biggest concern is the constant expenses. I worry about my children but there really isn’t anywhere to go,” she said.
Experts say the pessimism about the Pakistan’s stability in the months ahead is not misplaced, as the country’s political heavyweights tussle for power.
Maleeha Lodhi, former Pakistan ambassador to the United Nations, Britain and the United States, told CNN the “prolonged and intense nature” of the confrontation between Pakistan’s government and former Prime Minister Imran Khan is “unprecedented.”
She said the only way forward is for “all sides to step aside and call for a ceasefire through interlocutors to agree on a consensus for simultaneous provincial and national elections.”
That solution, however, is not something that can easily be achieved as both sides fight in the street – and in court.
How did we get here?
The current wave of chaos can be traced back to April 2022, when Khan, a former cricket star who founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI), was ousted from office in a vote of no confidence on grounds of mismanaging the economy.
In response, Khan rallied his supporters in street protests, accusing the current government of colluding with the military and the United States in a conspiracy to remove him from office, claims both parties rejected.
Khan survived an assassination attempt last November during one of his rallies and has since been beset with legal troubles spearheaded by Sharif’s government. As of March 21, Khan was facing six charges, while 84 have been registered against other PTI workers, according to the central police office in Lahore. However, Khan’s party claims that 127 cases have been lodged against him alone.
Earlier this month, attempts to arrest Khan from his residence in Lahore led to violent clashes with the police and Khan’s supporters camped outside. Khan told CNN the government was attempting to arrest him as a “pretext for them to get out of (holding) elections,” a claim rejected by information minister Mariyam Aurangzeb.
Days later, more clashes erupted when police arrived with bulldozers to clear the supporters from Khan’s home, and again outside Islamabad High Court as the former leader finally complied with an order to attend court.
Interior minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters that the police operation intended to “clear no-go areas” and “arrest miscreants hiding inside.” Human Rights Watch accused the police of using “abusive measures” and urged all sides to show restraint.
What is happening with elections?
General elections are due to be held this October, but Khan has been pushing for elections months earlier. However, it’s not even clear if he’ll be able to contest the vote due to the push by the government to disqualify him.
Disqualification will mean that Khan can’t hold any parliamentary position, become involved in election campaigns, or lead his party.
Khan has already been disqualified by Pakistan’s Election Commission for making “false statements” regarding the sale of gifts sent to him while in office – an offense under the country’s constitution – but it will take the courts to cement the disqualification into law. A court date is still to be set for that hearing.
Yasser Kureshi, author of the book “Seeking Supremacy: The Pursuit of Judicial Power in Pakistan,” says Khan’s “ability to mobilize support” will “help raise the costs of any attempt to disqualify him.”
However, he said if Pakistan’s powerful military – led by government-appointed former spy chief Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir, who Khan once fired – is determined to expel the former leader, it could pressure the judiciary to rule him out, no matter how much it inflames Khan’s supporters.
“If the military leadership is united against Khan and committed to disqualifying and purging him, the pressure from the military may compel enough judges to relent and disqualify Khan, should that be the consensus within the military top brass,” said Kureshi, a lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Qaiser Imam, president of the Islamabad Bar Association, disagreed with this statement. “Political parties, to save their politics, link themselves with certain narratives or perceptions which generally are never found correct,” he told CNN.
The Pakistan Armed Forces has often been blamed for meddling in the democratic process to maintain its authority, but in a statement last November outgoing army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, said a decision had been made in February that the military would not interfere in politics.
The army has previously rejected Khan’s claims it had anything to do with purported attempts on his life.
Some say the government’s recent actions have added to perceptions that it’s trying to stack the legal cards against Khan.
This week, the government introduced a bill to limit the power of the Chief Justice, who had agreed to hear a claim by the PTI against a move to delay an important by-election in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populated province, and one considered a marker for the party most likely to win national leadership.
It had been due to be held on April 30, but Pakistan’s Election Commission pushed it to October 8, citing security concerns.
In a briefing to international media last Friday, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the security and economic situation had deteriorated in the past two months, and it was more cost effective to hold the vote at the same time as the general election.
The decision was immediately condemned by Khan as an act that “violated the constitution.”
Lodhi, the former ambassador, has criticized the delay, tweeting that a security threat had been “invoked to justify whatever is politically expedient.”
The PTI took the matter to the Supreme Court, where it’s still being heard.
Some have accused Khan of also trying to manipulate the court system in his favor.
Kureshi said the judiciary is fragmented, allowing Khan to “venue-shop” – taking charges against him from one judge to seek a more sympathetic hearing with another.
“At this time it seems that even the Supreme Court itself is split on how to deal with Imran Khan, which helps him maneuver within this fragmented institutional landscape,” Kureshi said.
What happens now?
The increasing acrimony at the highest level of politics shows no sign of ending – and in fact could prolong the uncertainty for Pakistan’s long-suffering people.
Khan is adamant the current government wants him dead without offering much tangible evidence. And in comments made to local media on Sunday, Sanaullah said the government once viewed Khan as a political opponent but now sees him as the “enemy.”
“(Khan) has in a straightforward way brought this country’s politics to a point where either only one can exist, either him or us. If we feel our existence is being negated, then we will go to whatever lengths needed and, in that situation, we will not see what is democratic or undemocratic, what is right and what is wrong,” he added.
PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the comments were “offensive” and threatened to take legal action. “The statement … goes against all norms of civilized world,” he said.
Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, the director the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, says Khan’s popularity gave him “the power to cripple the country,” should he push supporters to show their anger in the street.
However, Mehboob said Khan’s repeated attempts to call for an early election could create even more instability by provoking the government to impose article 232 of the constitution.
That would place the country under a state of emergency, delaying elections for a year.
And that would not be welcomed by a weary public already tired of living in uncertain times.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the former army chief.
N.S. government got duped buying 3 Maud Lewis paintings. Here's how they learned the truth – CBC.ca
Jays Lose to Cardinals
What does Trump’s indictment mean for American politics?
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Art22 hours ago
The fool’s gold of art forgery is a problem of the art world’s own making
News22 hours ago
Canada’s carbon pricing is going up again. What it means for your wallet
Health20 hours ago
Patient Volumes Up in Winnipeg Children’s ICU
Investment20 hours ago
Is Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) A Risky Investment?
Economy20 hours ago
Can Russia and China succeed in dethroning the dollar?
Business23 hours ago
What economists are saying about the latest GDP numbers
Health22 hours ago
Heads up – wood ticks are out and about in the Thompson
Politics11 hours ago
Ivanka Trump breaks silence on her dad’s indictment