Connect with us

World

Green Leader Elizabeth May says there’s no list of disloyal current MPs in unredacted NSICOP report | CBC News

Published

on

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she’s read the original version of a highly-publicized intelligence watchdog’s report on foreign interference and she doesn’t believe any of her House of Commons colleagues knowingly betrayed their country.

“There is no list of MPs who have shown disloyalty to Canada,” she said. “I am vastly relieved.”

Last week, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), a cross-party committee of MPs and senators with top security clearances, released a heavily redacted document alleging some parliamentarians have actively helped foreign governments meddle in Canadian politics.

The report said some Parliamentarians are, in the words of the intelligence services, “semi-witting or witting participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.”

May has a top security clearance allowing her to see classified intelligence and was granted access to the unredacted version of NSICOP Monday night. She said reactions to the report since it was tabled last week have triggered a “totally understandable media firestorm, which in my view is overblown.”

WATCH | May says she has ‘no worries’ about sitting MPs after reading unredacted NSICOP report

May says she has ‘no worries’ about sitting MPs after reading unredacted NSICOP report

‘There is no list of MPs who have shown disloyalty to Canada,’ Green Party co-leader Elizabeth May said Tuesday after reading the full, unredacted NSICOP report looking into foreign interference.

May described the contents of the report as “not as bad as a John le Carré novel but a bit more worrying than Miss Marple.”

“So I am very glad I read the full report. I am very comfortable sitting with my colleagues,” said the veteran parliamentarian.

The redacted NSICOP report described what it called “particularly concerning” behaviour by some parliamentarians.

For example, the report said some elected officials “began wittingly assisting foreign state actors soon after their election.” The report said unnamed members of Parliament worked to influence their colleagues on India’s behalf and proactively provided confidential information to Indian officials.

May said that case study involved people not currently serving in Parliament.

“You couldn’t find a single name of a single member of Parliament currently serving who had significance intelligence, or any intelligence or any suggestion in the unredacted report that they had put the interest of a foreign government ahead of Canada’s,” she later told CBC”s Power & Politics.

May, who told reporters that she had to tread carefully to avoid disclosing classified information, said the report lists the names of less than a handful of MPs who may have been compromised by foreign governments.

“They have been beneficiaries of foreign governments interfering in nomination contests,” she said. 

“Saying that I’m relieved does not mean that there is nothing to see here folks. There are clearly threats to Canadian democracy from foreign governments.”

She also said she did not read any specific reference to the Senate in the report.

May said the most troubling case in NSICOP’s report involved a former MP who maintained a relationship with a foreign intelligence officer.

The report says that, according to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the MP “sought to arrange a meeting in a foreign state with a senior intelligence official and also proactively provided the intelligence officer with information provided in confidence.”

May said that person, who was not named in the unredacted report, should be fully investigated by police.

The RCMP has said it is probing cases involving foreign interference but would not say whether it’s investigating parliamentarians.

May calls Bloc motion ‘a hot potato in the wrong soup pot’

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who also has a top security clearance, is expected to read the report Wednesday.  Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Tuesday he’s inquired about getting cleared to view the report.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has not sought clearance to review classified intelligence. He has argued that doing so would prevent him from commenting publicly.

“Elizabeth May took on her responsibilities as party leader, got her security clearance and did the work,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday.

“Mr. Poilievre should do that too. He is choosing ignorance so he can play partisan politics.”

The Bloc Québécois introduced a motion to expand the mandate of the public inquiry investigating foreign election interference to allow it to investigate the claims in the NSICOP report concerning MPs and senators. It passed with almost unanimous support Tuesday.

WATCH | Public safety minister says he won’t name parliamentarians in NSICOP report 

Public safety minister says he won’t name parliamentarians in NSICOP report

During question period, Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan pushed Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc to name parliamentarians included in a recent foreign interference report, but LeBlanc said he would not do that since the RCMP told him he could face criminal prosecution.

May said she was going to vote in favour of the motion but, after reading the report, changed her mind.

“I think the Bloc motion is its throwing a hot potato in the wrong soup pot,” she said Tuesday.

“Throw it to Justice Hogue, that’s not good enough. We’re members of Parliament we should be able to — and especially those of us who have the clearance to read the report — should be able to read it, consider it, and start fortifying our own defences against foreign interference.”

A spokesperson for Hogue said she is “honoured by the confidence expressed towards the commission.”

“She will soon issue a notice to the public regarding the parameters of the commission’s mandate and the next stage of its work,” said spokesperson Michael Tansey.

Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have come under pressure to release the names of parliamentarians in the unredacted NSICOP report.

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc has argued releasing classified intelligence could expose CSIS methods, put sources at risk and jeopardize relationships with allies, who share their intelligence with Canada on the condition that it not be made public.

“We’ve gone barking up the wrong tree … there is no list,” said May.

“Let’s keep our eye on the ball. The ball is what are foreign governments trying to do in Canada.”

Continue Reading