LILLEY: MPs can’t allow Trudeau to ignore their calls for an inquiry

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Justin Trudeau is making a mockery of our democracy and undermining faith in our institutions with his actions this week.

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Despite a second vote by the majority of MPs calling for a public inquiry, he refuses — just as he refuses to drop David Johnston from the investigation into China’s interference.

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MPs must now decide whether to let Trudeau get away with this or force his hand through other means. That doesn’t mean the opposition parties must force an election, though that shouldn’t be ruled out, but they will need to act together.

MPs should find a way to grind the business of Parliament to a halt, to stall on government priorities, to slow the government’s agenda down unless and until a public inquiry is called. If that doesn’t work, then yes, they may need to find a way to vote the government down and force an election.

There isn’t much time left, the House is technically scheduled to sit until June 23, but it could rise for the summer break as early as next week.

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This may seem like a drastic call but consider what we have before us.

This is a government facing allegations that China interfered in the last two elections to aid Liberal candidates and in 2021, specifically sought to assist in electing a Liberal government. The Conservatives had candidates that reports say were also aided by Beijing in 2019 but unlike the Liberals, they are calling for a public inquiry.

Intelligence experts, including former CSIS agents who have worked on this issue, have confirmed that every party has been targeted by China and all of them would see embarrassing information come out if the public knew the whole truth. Yet, only the Liberals are refusing to support the idea of an inquiry and only Trudeau has the ability to call one.

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Rather than call one, he asked his longtime friend — that’s Trudeau’s description, not mine — to look into the matter. David Johnston, the former governor general, issued his report last week that he didn’t think an inquiry was warranted. But Canadians don’t trust Johnston.

Just 27% of Canadians think Johnston and his report into China’s election interference is impartial and, not surprisingly, most of them vote Liberal. These are the findings of a Leger poll for Postmedia that also found 69% of Canadians are concerned about China’s interference efforts.

Trudeau doesn’t seem too concerned about China’s interference.

We have evidence of China interfering in the nomination races of various parties, trying to influence the outcome of two successive elections, targeting specific MPs from the Conservatives and NDP in various ways, China is running illegal police stations to intimidate Chinese-Canadians, and we still don’t know what happened in the Winnipeg lab.

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Don’t worry though says Trudeau, David Johnston is on the case.

Johnston didn’t seem to know about the targeting of Erin O’Toole that CSIS briefed the former Conservative leader on last week. Twice at committee on Thursday, Johnston was contradicted on his claim that officials didn’t have access to top secret emails.

Jody Thomas, the prime minister’s Nationals Security and Intelligence Advisor, as well as Bill Blair, the former public safety minister, testified Johnston’s description in his official report was inaccurate. Yet we are supposed to believe Johnston, take his report at face value and side with him on the idea that no public inquiry is necessary?

The facts show that an inquiry is necessary. But more importantly, the House of Commons has voted for one to be called on two different occasions.

The representatives of the people have spoken, it’s time for Justin Trudeau to listen to them.

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