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QUESTION PERIOD — Global Affairs

Foreign Interference

April 11, 2024

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)

Leader, a reporter recently asked Prime Minister Trudeau about Erin O’Toole’s testimony before the Hogue inquiry about how the Conservative Party and its candidates were targeted by Beijing in the 2021 federal election. The Prime Minister said:

I can understand where someone who lost an election is trying to look for reasons other than themselves why they might have lost an election.

Leader, what a disgraceful comment for a prime minister of Canada to make. He didn’t care enough to read any memos about foreign interference, and he doesn’t care now. Prime Minister Trudeau benefited from Beijing’s interference, and he knew it. It was aimed against Conservatives. That’s why he doesn’t care, isn’t it, leader?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

No is the answer. It is clearly established in public testimony that there were divergent opinions.

Were there efforts to interfere? Clearly, there were. The inquiry is bringing to light important lessons that I hope this government and future governments will learn about how to process information and ensure we have a system in place. This is the first government to put into place a system to properly assess this information and brief it.

Can it be improved? Of course. Again, however, it is not factually correct, with all respect, Senator Plett, to assert that the Prime Minister doesn’t read, doesn’t care or the like.

Isn’t it factually correct, leader, that the Prime Minister defied the House four times and sued the Speaker of the House to keep documents in? He brushed aside Beijing’s donations to the Trudeau Foundation — factually correct. He fought tooth and nail against a public inquiry — factually correct. He made up a rapporteur to legitimize his cover-up — factually correct.

Is this how a prime minister concerned about foreign interference acts? It is not. He’s not worth the cost of democracy.

Senator Martin [ - ]


Senator Gold [ - ]

Clearly, in the competition between slogans and rhetoric, repeated over and over again, I cannot compete with facts except to say, again, that this government put into place an inquiry and systems. Canadians and Canadian democracy will benefit from the steps that have been taken.

It’s hard to compete with facts.

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