February 22nd, 2024

Safety minister stresses need to balance transparency, security on foreign meddling

By The Canadian Press on February 2, 2024.

Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc rises during Question Period, Thursday, February 1, 2024 in Ottawa. A commission of inquiry into foreign interference will hear from LeBlanc today as it looks for ways to make as much information public as possible. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc says a federal inquiry into foreign interference will have full access to secret documents, even if some of that sensitive information can’t be made public.

LeBlanc told the inquiry today there are obligations under the law to shield certain information from disclosure.

He says a balance must be struck between being transparent about foreign meddling and protecting classified material.

Federal lawyers say the public release of detailed intelligence about interference threats from China and others would risk exposing vital secrets.

The discussions on national security and confidentiality of information will help set the stage for the commission’s next public hearings, 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 these matters due May 3.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.

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