Canadians alone can decide if David Johnston is in a conflict of interest, Experts say

David Johnston. Image credit: Facebook page

Ottawa/CMEDIA: Eversince the appointment of David Johnston as the Canadian federal government’s special rapporteur on foreign election interference, he has been criticized  of being unfit for the job because of his connections to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  

Both the leaders of the Conservative Party and Bloc Quebecois have said that the longstanding ties between Trudeau and Johnston, who they say are self-declared friends, can hinder Johnston from judging the prime minister’s actions.

But experts say that the public perception plays a big role in determining whether someone is in a conflict of interest and if their decisions were influenced by that conflict.

Trudeau appointed Johnston, the former governor general, as a special rapporteur in March after a series of news stories by Global News and the Globe and Mail reportedly alleged the Chinese government’s involvement in interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

Besides being tasked with assessing the extent and impact of the Chinese government’s interference in Canada’s elections and the government’s response to intelligence reports, Johnston was also asked to decide about the need of a formal public inquiry.

On Tuesday, Johnston said no such inquiry was necessary which was backed by Trudeau. 

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