Former Governor David Johnston said the atmosphere had become too partisan to continue his work.
The government appointee investigating allegations of Chinese interference in Canada announced on Friday that he was stepping down from the position, citing the highly partisan atmosphere surrounding the job.
Former Canadian Governor-General David Johnston, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wrote that his leadership of the government investigation of alleged Chinese interference has helped build trust in the democratic system because of its partisan nature. said no.
Johnston’s appointment was controversial, with opposition Conservative Party leader Pierre Poivre accusing him of being too close to Trudeau’s family.
All opposition parties in the House have called on the government to conduct public investigations into allegations of foreign interference, but Mr. Johnston recently released a report advising against doing so. In Friday’s announcement, Johnston also hinted that he will release a brief final report before his departure.
David Johnston did the right thing.
Now is the time for the prime minister to convene a public inquiry to restore confidence in democracy.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) June 9, 2023
Johnston said he was encouraging Trudeau to appoint a “respected person with national security experience” to complete the investigation and to consult with the opposition on who should be appointed. .
Then-Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Johnston governor-general in 2010, a term that was extended until 2017 under the Liberal Trudeau administration. The governor-general represents the British monarch as head of state, an almost ceremonial and symbolic position.
Johnston is also a former member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
Trudeau said he had full confidence in Mr Johnston’s handling of the investigation and downplayed the importance of family ties.
Earlier this year, Canada expelled a Chinese diplomat accused by a Canadian spy agency of being involved in a conspiracy to blackmail Hong Kong opposition lawmakers and their relatives. He has criticized the Chinese government’s human rights record. China expelled a Canadian diplomat earlier this month in retaliation.
China regularly uses threats against families to intimidate critics of China’s diaspora.
China’s arrests of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spaber quickly soured relations between China and Canada. The case comes on the heels of Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of U.S. officials who accused her of fraud.