David Johnston hired a communications firm and RKESTRA for preparing foreign interference report

David Johnston. Image credit: Facebook page

CMEDIA: David Johnston, Canada’s special rapporteur on foreign interference, has hired a Navigator to provide communications advice and support, Valérie Gervais, a spokesperson for Johnston reportedly confirmed.

Navigator’s work for Johnston included drafting press releases, preparing him for interviews, analyzing news media reports and social media and providing logistical support for the release of his first report on foreign interference, Gervais said in a written statement.

“Navigator has had no involvement in [Johnston’s] investigation or the development of his conclusions, and has not been privy to any classified materials,” she wrote.

Johnston is scheduled to appear Tuesday before a parliamentary committee for three hours to discuss his report on foreign interference by China’s government.

NDP motion earlier this week passed by the House of Commons with Conservative and Bloc Québécois support, calling on Johnston to step down from his high-profile role.

The Independent Special Rapporteur is authorized to incur necessary expenses by Treasury Board policies to conduct an independent review, Gervais wrote.

“These services were retained in accordance with Treasury Board policies, and are subject to any necessary disclosures.”

Besides Navigator, Johnston also hired the Ottawa-based communications company RKESTRA to provide “media relations support” related to the release of his first report. 

RKESTRA’s website currently lists Gervais as the founder and CEO of the company.

A spokesperson for the Conservatives, Sebastian Skamski, said hiring Navigator is another reason that Canadians demand an open and independent inquiry and added that Johnston is wasting Canadians’ hard earned tax dollars. 

#DavidJohnston; #Navigator, #RKESTRA