Canadian Security Magazine

Green Leader Elizabeth May says no list of disloyal MPs in full spy watchdog report

The Canadian Press   

News foreign interference National Security and Intelligence Committee

Green Co-Leader Elizabeth May says she believes the small number of MPs named in a recent spy watchdog report did not knowingly set out to betray Canada. May speaks during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

By Jim Bronskill

The Green Party’s Elizabeth May says she believes the small number of MPs named in a recent spy watchdog report did not knowingly set out to betray Canada.

May said Tuesday she is “vastly relieved” after reading an unredacted version of a report on foreign interference by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

The intelligence watchdog, composed of MPs and senators, said in a public report last week that some MPs wittingly assisted the efforts of foreign states to meddle in Canadian politics.

The blunt report has prompted a flurry of concern that members knowingly involved in meddling might still be active in politics.

May told a news conference the full version of the classified report does not contain a “list of MPs who have shown disloyalty to Canada.”

“I have no worries about anyone in the House of Commons,” said May, whose top secret-level security clearance allowed her to see the complete report.

“So I am very glad I read the full report. I am very comfortable sitting with my colleagues. We will disagree on policy on many issues. But I am vastly relieved.”

May said one unnamed former MP accused in the report of proactively sharing privileged information with a foreign operative should be fully investigated by authorities.

She said “fewer than a handful” of MPs are named in the full report, “and no one in that fewer than a handful could be described as setting out to knowingly betray Canada in favour of a foreign government.”

But May was quick to add that the few named people in the unredacted reportmay be compromised,” as they were “beneficiaries of foreign governments interfering in nomination contests.”

“Saying as I do that I’m relieved does not mean that there is nothing to see here, folks, so let’s forget the whole thing,” May said.

“There are clearly threats to Canadian democracy from foreign governments.”

The House of Commons voted Tuesday overwhelmingly in favour of a Bloc Québécois motion to have an ongoing commission of inquiry delve into the intelligence watchdog’s findings about specific MPs.

The Liberal government joined the NDP and Conservatives this week in publicly expressing support for the idea of asking the inquiry, led by Quebec judge Marie-Josée Hogue, to address the matter.

May and fellow Green MP Mike Morrice were the only MPs to vote against the motion.

At the news conference, May said she initially thought, before reading the full watchdog report, that she would support it.

“What’s known publicly right now is what can be known publicly,” she said.

May added that those with the needed security clearance to see the classified report should do so, consider it and “start fortifying our own defences against foreign interference.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet have also signalled their desire to be briefed on the full watchdog report.

Singh said this week if it shows any New Democrat MP knowingly took part in meddling, he would remove them from caucus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2024.

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