Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 27, 2023
Breaking the Alliance: A Necessary Step to Demand an Independent Public Inquiry
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has expressed his dedication to advocating for an impartial public inquiry into China’s interference in elections. However, the dilemma arises from his party’s alliance with the Liberals in Parliament. To exert effective pressure on the government, Singh must contemplate severing this alliance, which was initially established to support the Liberals for an additional year and a half. Given recent events and the escalating call for an inquiry, it is crucial to explore alternative avenues that guarantee transparency and accountability.
The alliance between the Liberals and NDP, known as the “supply and confidence agreement,” aimed to provide stability to the minority government. Unfortunately, it has allowed the Liberals to dismiss the voice of Parliament. Despite a majority vote of 172-149 in favor of an independent public inquiry, the Liberals have chosen to disregard it, relying on the NDP’s commitment to support them through the alliance. This situation undermines democratic principles, which require elected representatives’ voices to be heard and respected.
Globe & Mail: Mr. Singh, axe your alliance with the Liberals
To intensify pressure on the Liberals and compel them to initiate a formal public inquiry, Jagmeet Singh should terminate the alliance. Such a move would not trigger an election but would emphasize the government’s minority mandate obtained in the 2021 election. By withdrawing their support, the NDP would demonstrate their dedication to accountability, transparency, and the restoration of Canadians’ trust in our democratic institutions.
A recent report by former governor-general David Johnston, though largely classified, emphasizes the urgent necessity of a comprehensive and independent public inquiry. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s offer to provide closed-door briefings for opposition leaders, along with access to unredacted portions of the report, falls short of satisfying this need. A public inquiry, with the power to compel testimony under oath and hold individuals accountable for their actions, is essential for a complete understanding of the events, their timeline, and the government’s response to foreign interference.
David Johnston’s recommendation for a fact-finding mission and broader hearings on foreign interference fails to address the fundamental issues at hand. While these steps are important for shaping policy improvements, they do not replace a thorough examination of what went wrong and who may bear responsibility within the government. Only a comprehensive public inquiry can provide the necessary transparency, rebuild public trust, and establish effective safeguards against future electoral interference.
All three opposition leaders, including Jagmeet Singh, continue to advocate for an independent public inquiry. Their unwavering stance aligns with the overwhelming vote in Parliament, underscoring the urgent need for a comprehensive examination of China’s meddling and the government’s response. Singh, by accepting the offer to review the complete report, reaffirmed his belief that a public inquiry is the sole means to restore trust and ensure a thorough investigation.
Jagmeet Singh must now demonstrate the sincerity of his commitment to transparency and accountability by taking bold action. Breaking the parliamentary alliance with the Liberals would convey that the NDP prioritizes safeguarding Canada’s electoral system over short-term political gains. By doing so, Singh can exert substantial pressure on the government, leading to a full and independent public inquiry that holds those responsible accountable and strengthens our democracy.
In light of mounting evidence and the overwhelming demand for an independent public inquiry, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh must reassess the effectiveness of the alliance with the Liberals. Breaking this alliance would send a clear message to the government that the NDP is unwavering in its pursuit of transparency, accountability, and the restoration of Canadians’ trust in our democratic processes. It is time to prioritize the thorough investigation that our democracy deserves, placing the interests of the nation above partisan arrangements. (AI)