KINSELLA: Which decision to forgo an investigation into Chinese interference fails

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David Johnston’s amazing decision – to conclude that Canada does not need an investigation into Chinese interference in our democracy – will be remembered for what it doesn’t do, not what it does.

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Here are the five things it doesn’t do.

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First, it won’t improve David Johnston’s reputation. At all. Before Tuesday, the former governor general enjoyed a pretty stellar reputation. Honorary title, Order of Canada, decades of public service.

And then, on Tuesday, Johnston undid all of that with a decision that validates everyone who has questioned whether Johnston was the right person for the job — because of alleged conflicts of interest, because of his position at the Trudeau Foundation, because of his long friendship with the very liberal leader, whose behavior needs to be investigated. Johnston will now forever be known, not for the good things he did in his life – but for that horrific, shocking decision he made at the end of his life.

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Second, Johnston’s abdication will not stem the tide of leaks about China’s willingness to destroy our democratic institutions. In fact, it will do the opposite: it will lead to even more leaks.

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The CSIS agents – and others – who have provided the media with details of the Chinese regime’s crimes did not do so for health reasons. They do so at great risk – for their careers and their freedom. And they obviously did this to persuade the Canadian government to take action against the Chinese threat.

Johnston’s horrific report will give the Trudeau Liberals an excuse to continue covering up this scandal. But it won’t stop the bleeding. The leaks will continue to appear and get worse. Johnston will make things immeasurably worse for the government he clearly wanted to protect.

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Third, it will not improve public opinion. It will make Canadians angrier and more willing to take action against the Trudeau regime.

Months ago, polls showed that self-proclaimed liberals wanted what conservative partisans were doing: a public inquiry. China’s belligerence and violence had done something very rare: unite the public.

Divided into these and controversial Sometimes it becomes increasingly difficult to find a consensus on political issues. China’s interference in our democracy is the exception. Johnston had the opportunity to benefit from this unprecedented level of consensus. And he messed it up.

Fourth, Johnston’s horrible, horrible decision won’t stop the news media from following the story. This is especially the case now that Johnston has adopted the approach of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump, calling us bearers of “fake news” in the media.

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That tactic didn’t work for Trudeau in the SNC-Lavalin or WE charity scandals, and it hasn’t worked for Trump — ever. Calling the media liars, as Johnston actually did, will only force the media to work even harder to prove him wrong.

Fifth and final, Johnston’s decision will not please our allies, who are increasingly dissatisfied with the way Canada is dealing with a real and apparent threat to Western interests. And most importantly, the story will not disappear because of this. It just does not work.

An unfortunate intelligence establishment. A dissatisfied electorate. An unfortunate medium. All together will ensure that this story continues to fill the front pages of the newspapers until someone in power does the right thing.

Whatever the opposition parties do now – and one of those things must be to shut down Parliament pending an inquiry – is almost secondary. This problem will not go away. It doesn’t go away.

But Johnston should.



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