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’No evidence at the time’ of foreign interference in 2019 federal election, Lucki says

RCMP top cop says Mounties investigating foreign interference, but declines to provide docs

A woman in press conference.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki listens to a question during a press conference at RCMP National Headquarters in Ottawa on Sept. 17, 2019. Lucki says the Mounties did not have any evidence of foreign interference during the 2019 federal election.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Chris Wattie

RCI

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the Mounties did not have any evidence of foreign interference during the 2019 federal election, and were not investigating any criminal activities with regard to that election.

But in a letter to the clerk of the standing committee on procedure and house affairs, which was first reported by the Globe and Mail and obtained by CBC News, Lucki acknowledged that the Mounties are currently investigating foreign interference activities in Canada. She declined to hand over redacted documents on those investigations to the committee.

The committee passed a motion in a Nov. 14 meeting requiring federal government departments and agencies to produce redacted documents on foreign interference in the 2019 federal election. The decision came after a story from Global News (new window), which reported that CSIS briefed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January 2022 on Chinese efforts to interfere in that election. The interference reportedly included Chinese government funding of at least 11 candidates.

In the letter to the committee, dated Nov. 25, Lucki said the RCMP didn't have any evidence of these activities at the time — but didn't say whether the Mounties are investigating them now.

In the context of the 2019 federal election, the RCMP did not have any criminal investigations into election-related activities as there was no evidence at the time, Lucki said.

The RCMP is aware of foreign actor interference in relation to a broad range of activities, including interference in democratic processes.

WATCH | Trudeau on China protests

Lucki said the RCMP couldn't provide documents to the committee on its ongoing investigations because doing so may compromise the investigations.

The RCMP does not make these determinations lightly — open dialogue on the impact that foreign actor interference has on Canada, its citizens and its democratic processes, is critical in helping defend against these threats, Lucki said. 

However, foreign actor interference investigations are some of the most sensitive national security investigations the RCMP currently conducts, and it must make every effort to protect the integrity of these investigations.

Trudeau and China deny story allegations

In a scrum with reporters at the House of Commons Tuesday, Trudeau did not comment specifically on Lucki's letter.

All of our organizations and agencies, including the RCMP, will continue to do their job to keep Canadians safe and make decisions aligned with their responsibilities, Trudeau said.

Trudeau has said he never received (new window) the alleged CSIS briefings and memos at the centre of the Global News story.

Let me be clear: I do not have any information, nor have I been briefed on any federal candidates receiving any money from China, Trudeau said last week.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday that allegations of election interference should be taken seriously.

WATCH | Singh on China interference

We don't want to see any interference in Canadians' ability to make decisions about their future, Singh said at a news conference. 

China has denied the allegations of interfering in the election. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijan said earlier this month (new window) that China, has no interest in Canada's internal affairs.

The Trudeau government recently unveiled (new window) its Indo-Pacific Strategy, which includes a plan to confront an increasingly disruptive China. 

Richard Raycraft (new window) · CBC News

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