Skip to content

Bloc MPs will 'pay the price' for any involvement in foreign meddling, Blanchet says


Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says any member of his caucus implicated in foreign interference will "pay the price" for their actions. Blanchet  rises during Question Period, in Ottawa, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says any member of his caucus implicated in foreign interference will "pay the price" for their actions.

Blanchet told reporters Tuesday the Parliament of a G7 country cannot afford to have MPs who are under the influence of foreign, hostile powers.

The Bloc leader is taking steps to obtain the top secret-level security clearance needed to read the full version of a recent classified report from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

The intelligence watchdog, composed of MPs and senators, said in a public report this month that some parliamentarians are "semi-witting or witting" participants in the efforts of foreign states to meddle in Canadian politics.

Blanchet said that after reviewing the full report he will deal with any Bloc MPs involved in foreign meddling. "That's the only thing I need to know."

He stressed he will not follow the path of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and speak publicly once he sees the report.

The Bloc leader said he would leave decisions about openly naming any MPs involved in interference to an ongoing commission of inquiry that has been asked to examine specific allegations in the watchdog report.

May said last week she was relieved to see the complete report did not contain a "list of MPs who have shown disloyalty to Canada."

She said one unnamed former MP accused in the report of proactively sharing privileged information with a foreign operative should be fully investigated by authorities.

She was also quick to add that the few named people in the unredacted report "may be compromised," as they were "beneficiaries of foreign governments interfering in nomination contests."

Just days later, Singh said that after seeing the full report he was "more convinced than ever" of the watchdog's public conclusions.

"In short, there are a number of MPs who have knowingly provided help to foreign governments, some to the detriment of Canada and Canadians," Singh said.

"There are also politicians at all levels of government who have benefited from foreign interference. Some of this behaviour absolutely appears to be criminal and should be prosecuted."

Singh, like May, did not suggest any sitting MPs were of concern.

Singh had previously said he would remove from his caucus any MPs singled out for knowingly participating in foreign meddling. After reading the report, he said he would not be taking such action.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about Singh’s comments in a CBC interview Monday. After a pause, he responded: "I hadn’t known that Jagmeet said that."

"I would be wary of any party leader drawing any sort of conclusion like that," Trudeau said.

Singh's office said in a statement Tuesday that if Trudeau has intelligence that someone in the NDP caucus is "knowingly working with a foreign government against Canadian interests, he can tell Jagmeet, who has clearance. No such information has been given to us."

May and Singh carefully worded their recent public statements about the classified report to avoid breaching confidences.

Even so, Blanchet took issue with them saying anything about the contents of a highly classified document.

Blanchet suggested Tuesday that a lack of discretion about the report is making him reluctant to agree to a meeting with the other party leaders to discuss how to address foreign interference.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2024.

— With files from Mickey Djuric and Mia Rabson

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks