March 4th, 2024

Interference inquiry not ‘business as usual’ when it comes to secrecy, CSIS boss says

By The Canadian Press on February 1, 2024.

David Vigneault, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), prepares to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. A commission of inquiry into foreign interference will hear from national security officials today as it looks for ways to be transparent about a highly sensitive subject.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is trying to assure a federal inquiry into foreign interference that there’s a desire to disclose as much information as possible on the sensitive topic.

CSIS director David Vigneault told the inquiry today it’s not “business as usual” when it comes to keeping a tight rein of secrecy on classified materials.

Vigneault indicated the government has developed procedures to provide summaries and edited versions of secret documents to assist the inquiry in its work.

Inquiry hearings this week on national security and confidentiality of information will help set the stage for the next public sessions, likely to take place at the end of March.

The March hearings will delve into allegations of foreign interference by China, India, Russia and others in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, with a report on the commission’s findings due May 3.

The inquiry will then turn to policy issues, examining the government’s ability to detect, deter and counter foreign interference targeting Canada’s democratic processes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024.

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