Top brass from intelligence, diplomatic services testify at foreign meddling inquiry

OTTAWA — The ongoing inquiry into foreign interference is set to hear today from the top brass of Canada’s intelligence agencies and foreign service.

The Communications Security Establishment, which handles signals intelligence, will have its deputy head Dan Rogers appear.

He’ll be followed by the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, David Vigneault, and three of his colleagues.

RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme is slated to take the stand this afternoon, and the day is expected to end with the head of Global Affairs Canada, deputy minister David Morrison.

The ongoing hearings are part of the inquiry’s work examining possible foreign interference by China, India, Russia and others in the last two general elections.

The officials will likely face questions about the flow of information within government, with officials from the three biggest federal parties saying they were not adequately briefed about attempted meddling by foreign states.

Individual candidates have testified to the inquiry that they were angry to learn after both election campaigns that officials had been monitoring activity suspected of being linked to foreign states.

Intelligence leaders insist both the 2019 and 2021 elections were conducted freely and fairly, but the Conservatives say more attention should have been paid to concerning activity detected within specific ridings.

On Friday, senior officials who formed a joint panel meant to detect foreign interference threats in the 2019 and 2021 elections are set to testify.

The commission of inquiry led by Quebec judge Marie-Josée Hogue expects to hear testimony from more than 40 people, including community members, political party representatives and federal election officials.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, members of his cabinet and various senior government officials are also slated to appear at the hearings, which are set to conclude April 10.

An initial report of findings from the commission is due May 3.

The inquiry will then shift to broader policy issues, looking at the government’s ability to detect, deter and counter foreign interference. A final report is expected by the end of the year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press