Canada appoints judge to lead public inquiry into foreign electoral interference

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The Canadian government on Thursday announced the appointment of Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Marie-Josee Hogue to chair a public inquiry into claims of foreign interference in Canadian elections.

Justice Hogue will preside over an independent inquiry investigating interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections by China, Russia, other foreign states and non-state actors. Hogue was given a deadline for completing her findings. She must submit an interim report by February 29th, 2024, and a final one by December 2024.

Canada has announced reports of several leaked intelligence over the past year. Canada announced in May that a Chinese diplomatic official was involved in interference and operations, including attempts to intimidate or punish democratically debated views.

Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc said that he would like to “thank the Opposition House Leaders for their willingness to work in a non-partisan fashion, in the interest of our country, to ensure Canada’s democratic institutions remain strong and resilient.”

Hogue has been appointed under the Canadian Inquiries Act (1985) and will operate independently from the government. Hogue, in her role as commissioner, will be able to take evidence, issue subpoenas and enforce the attendance of witness, compel witnesses to give evidence, or otherwise conduct the investigation. Hogue will be able “to undertake her work with full support from all recognized parties in this House.”