Senator calls for CSIS election interference leakers to be ‘identified and prosecuted’

Senator calls for CSIS election interference leakers to be ‘identified and prosecuted’

Federal employees behind the leak of secret memos on Chinese election interference need to be “identified and prosecuted,” according to Liberal-appointed Senator Yuen Pau Woo.

“To what extent has Canadian democracy and national security been damaged by the leaks and subsequent developments?” wondered Senator Woo in a written submission to the Foreign Interference Commission. “What lessons can be learned about the leak of piecemeal intelligence from possibly misinformed, disgruntled or self-aggrandizing officials and former officials?”

Reports published by Global News and the Globe and Mail suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet repeatedly ignored warnings of misconduct by foreign actors. Documents shared by the commission confirmed the outlets’ stories.

Meddling from the Chinese government posed an “existential threat to Canadian democracy,” read a February 2023 memo, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter

“Why have the leakers not been identified and prosecuted?” asked Senator Woo, who made no mention of the “existential threat” in his written submission to the commission.

Instead, Woo likened the controversy over election interference to “anti-Communist Cold War hysteria.” That era was “not pretty,” the senator said, raising a number of other questions:

What is the role of the media in soliciting and/or using such leaked information, and what responsibility does it have in considering the adverse consequences of publishing such leaks for democratic trust, civil liberties, foreign relations, and national security? What is the role of the political class in advancing partisan interests while protecting confidence in our elections and democracy more broadly? How can we better equip Canadians to be resilient against mis- and dis-information in the context of robust democratic elections, without resorting to witch-hunts?

“I hope the Commission will take up these questions,” Woo added.

Woo was given standing at the Foreign Interference Commission, though the senator did not participate in questioning witnesses.

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