(OTTAWA) NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants two members of his team to get the security clearance the Conservative and Bloc leaders have refused to be able to read sensitive information recorded by the special rapporteur on foreign interference, David Johnson.
In a letter sent Thursday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Singh argues that the refusal of the other opposition party leaders, Pierre Poilievre and Yves-François Blanchet, means that there are vacancies.
“I would request that these two places therefore be granted to members of my team who would accompany me, and who could undergo the same security screening process and be bound by the same level of confidentiality,” he said. writing.
Mr. Singh also asks to be informed, alongside these people, of the impact of the obligation of secrecy in perpetuity coming with the security clearance on the comments he will make in public on the issue of foreign interference.
The leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) notes that Mr. Johnston wrote in his report that the level of disclosure of his findings is “unprecedented”.
“I expect to be able to speak as freely about my conclusions based on the information that I am authorized to see and that my ability to criticize government actions is not limited,” Singh said, adding that he was going to ask for paper guarantees.
The New Democrat leader stresses, in the same missive, that he is in “profound disagreement” with Mr. Johnston’s recommendation not to hold a public and independent inquiry desired by all the opposition parties.
A member of the NDP leader’s team told The Canadian Press that it is possible that one or two political employees will be appointed to accompany Mr. Singh, if Mr. Trudeau accepts. The possibility has been discussed, but no decision has been made, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Otherwise, deputies could be chosen.
NDP MP Don Davies is already expected to have access to sensitive information surrounding foreign interference as he sits on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (CPSNR). At Johnston’s request, this group of MPs and senators working behind closed doors will review his work, including a confidential appendix to his report containing information relating to national security.
The former Governor General also recommended that this appendix be seen by all opposition party leaders and that they obtain a so-called “top secret” security clearance, which all members of the CPSNR have. Justin Trudeau said he, in response to this recommendation, sent an invitation to party leaders, which was refused by MM. Blanchet and Poilievre.
The Conservative leader said he didn’t want to be “muzzled” and the Bloc leader compared the security clearance to a “trap” that would prevent him from speaking.