Canadian targets of Chinese election interference have expressed disappointment in “special rapporteur” David Johnston’s findings which were first released on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s appointment and family friend published his 55-page report advising against the launch of a public inquiry into the allegations that China interfered in the past two federal elections.
Among those who found that Johnston’s investigation did not go far enough was former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu, who told CBC News that only a public inquiry would suffice in getting to the bottom of things.
“Nothing short of (that) is good enough to get to the bottom (of it),” Chiu told the outlet.
In his report, Johnston concluded that a public inquiry “would not serve a useful purpose.”
“I began with an inclination towards recommending a public inquiry. However, as I have undertaken the review process, I asked myself repeatedly what purpose a public inquiry could serve for Canadians in light of the restrictions on the material that would need to be before the commissioner,” said Johnston.
“I have concluded it would not serve a useful purpose to enhance trust.”
Chiu has claimed that Beijing meddled to have him lose his seat in the 2021 election by launching a disinformation campaign on the popular Chinese messaging application WeChat.
NDP MP Jenny Kwan also claimed that there were many “unanswered questions” from the report.
“I think there are a lot of unanswered questions that we’re still waiting for,” said Kwan.
Activists for Uyghur rights have also spoken out about Johnston’s assessment, including advocate Mehmet Tohti.
“When something comes up at this level that threatens our national security, a responsible government should take a stance and take tough measures immediately to address the situation,” Tohti told the Toronto Star.
“I’m afraid that Johnston’s decision (to turn down a public inquiry) will now be used as an excuse for the government to push the issues aside.”
Tibetan advocate Chemi Lhamo claimed that the decision was “another day in our lives of being unheard.
“For decades, we’ve been calling out the CCP’s long arm in our homes here, where Canada’s silence thus far has only emboldened their repression,” said Lhamo.
Meanwhile, Independent MP Han Dong, who stepped down from the Liberal caucus after CSIS sources claimed that China bussed supporters to his nomination campaign and that he met with the Chinese consulate to extend the detainment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, claimed that Johnston’s findings vindicated him.
“It is even more clear that Global News and [its parent company] Corus Entertainment must fully apologize and retract their defamatory reporting about me,” claimed Dong.
In his report, Johnston called the allegation “false.”
“The allegation is false. Mr. Dong discussed the ‘two Michaels’ with a PRC official but did not suggest to the official that the PRC extend their detention,” wrote Johnston.