OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that he would appoint an independent special investigator to look into allegations of Chinese interference in the country’s upcoming election.


Recent reports in Canadian media allege Chinese interference in upcoming elections in 2021 and 2019, citing unnamed intelligence sources.

Since those media reports surfaced, Trudeau has been under intense scrutiny, with a recent poll revealing that the majority of Canadians want him to respond more forcefully to allegations of election interference by China.

“I will be appointing an independent special rapporteur, who will have a wide mandate and make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening our democracy,” Trudeau told reporters in a press briefing.

Trudeau said a “eminent Canadian” would be appointed as the rapporteur with authority to recommend measures to address foreign interference, such as a public inquiry.

The Prime Minister further stated that he had requested an investigation into the allegations of foreign election interference be conducted by the national security committee of parliament.

In response to accusations of meddling, China has said it has zero interest in Canadian domestic affairs.

The Canadian intelligence watchdog, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), will conduct an investigation and report its findings to parliament.

Trudeau further stated that he will request a review of Canada’s national security agencies’ response to the foreign interference threat from the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA).

“Together, these measures will give us a better understanding of what happened in the last two elections, how foreign governments tried to interfere, how security agencies in Canada responded to the threat of interference, and how the information flowed across government,” the prime minister said.

While Trudeau and other top Canadian officials have admitted that China made an effort to influence the election, they maintain that the results were not changed. Nothing has been confirmed by them regarding the media reports.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail from earlier this month, citing intelligence sources, China would prefer the Liberal Party to remain in power in 2021 rather than the Conservative Party.

Liberals are seen as more open to doing business with China than Conservatives, despite their frequent disagreements with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a variety of issues. Conservatives are known to take a more hard-line stance against Beijing.

As if the already complicated diplomatic relationship between Canada and China didn’t have enough stressors, allegations of secret Chinese plans to interfere in Canadian affairs have been added.

An executive of the Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies was detained by Canadian police in late 2018, heightening tensions between the two countries. Subsequently, two Canadians were arrested on spying charges in Beijing. In the year 2021, all three were released.

Authorities in Canada announced earlier on Monday that they were looking into reports that cited classified information for possible violations of privacy and data protection laws.

Canadian police are not looking into the allegations of Chinese influence, Deputy Public Safety Minister Shawn Tupper told a parliamentary committee last week. According to a statement released by police on Monday, their focus is solely on information leaks.

The Canadian intelligence agency is also looking into the leak of secret information to the media.