A Concerned Canadian – Special Rapporteur Report
Rt Hon Prime Minister;
Let me start by saying that I am not active in politics, not a member of any federal party, nor do I have any political interest in the outcome of this matter. I am, however, a Dad, a very proud Canadian and a business leader.
I am writing today out of my grave concern with the process of investigating foreign interference in Canada’s democracy. I watched with interest yesterday as Mr. Johnston released his preliminary findings. I find a few matters particularly troubling. I was concerned when his appointment was announced. I am completely exasperated now and do not believe that success is possible with this review for a number of reasons:
- Perception of a conflict of interest – I have served on numerous Boards from non-profit organizations all the way to Schedule 1 Banks. The mere perception of a conflict for Mr. Johnston is enough to disqualify him from service on this project. I believe he is a man of integrity and that he has faithfully served Canada to this point in his career. I also believe that his relationship with the Trudeau Foundation and with your family makes it impossible for him to conduct his work in a manner that is independent from politics and government. Simply put, it is not fair to him or Canadians to ask us to set aside any perception of conflict and accept that his judgment in this matter has not been influenced in any way.
- I do not accept his conclusion that – “A Public Inquiry examining the leaked materials could not be undertaken in public given the sensitivity of the intelligence”. I believe that insufficient thought has been given to ways in which a public inquiry could have been conducted and confidential information protected. It is vitally important that this project is used partly to educate Canadians on how our democracy works. This issue is too important and we need to ensure that any and all facts about the potential manipulation of candidates or our democracy more broadly are disclosed. This disclosure is not required to you as Prime Minister to be the sole arbitrator on this matter. The disclosure of the facts is required by all of us as Canadians. We own the democratic process in Canada as citizens and any work to examine our democracy must be provided to all Canadians and be free from any possible political influence or conflict. The Privy Council Office, the Prime Minister and the Government are not the keepers and protectors of Canadian democracy. Citizens are.
- Public Inquiries bring Process – We need to ensure that the provision of information in this matter is governed by process and enshrined in law. Foreign interference is not a trivial matter and one that requires full and complete disclosure, with consequences, in the event that materials are withheld for whatever reason. We must compel evidence, facts and information to be provided – to all of us as Canadians.
Our democracy is extraordinary, but it is also fragile. We have seen, in recent years and in neighbouring countries, what happens when protecting the integrity of our democratic institutions is not at the forefront of our decisions or our actions. I believe that this is one of those instances and history is watching.
I am asking you to reconsider the process for the investigation of foreign interference. I am asking for a fully independent, public inquiry in this matter.
Too much is at stake and world events in recent years show us how important your next decisions and actions could be. Canada needs you right now Mr. Prime Minister. Please do not let us down.
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