This week saw spillover of the political firestorm which took place last week as former Governor General Johnston released his report on foreign election interference.
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This week, the NDP put forward a motion which was passed by all parties save the Liberals, to replace Johnston as “special rapporteur”. The motion was non-binding, and Johnston has sworn to stay on in the role. The motion and its response have enflamed the issue of interference once again, as if all opposition parties can agree Johnston is not a sufficiently impartial arbiter, then how can the Canadian public take his word that their elections are safe?
This may be true, but the CBC brought up a good point this week in this analysis: If Johnston is not qualified for the role, who is? It is true that Johnston has minor, but multiple and not insignificant ties to the Trudeau family and even the Liberal Party, but the fact is that a huge proportion of Ottawa officials and bureaucrats do. The CBC piece puts forward the question that if the ties Johnston has to the Trudeau family and the LPC are disqualifying, if that is the standard, is there anyone available of sufficient public standing which all parties could agree will be fair and non-biased? That remains a very open question, but also a moot one. For the time being, Johnston has refused the calls for him to step down and has sworn to finish the process of making his report.
Johnston is due to appear before Parliamentary committee next week, and will have to face questions from MPs of all parties. As things stand right now, that committee will not look very friendly for Mr.Johnston.