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Opinion: Election interference inquiry would harm Canada’s relationships

Public outcry and politicians demands do not always lead to a good conclusion.
Former governor general David Johnston in 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

New Zealand took the drastic and effective approach to dealing with the spread of COVID-19 of shutting the country down.

Flights in and out were severely restricted. Only Kiwis were allowed to enter the country. And upon entry, they were subject to a mandatory quarantine at the government’s expense in very nice hotels near the Auckland airport.

A two-week stay in a swanky hotel might not seem like a hardship. But people started to complain.

The Project, an info-entertainment nightly television program, picked up on some people complaining. In one case, it was a woman and her friend who had been allowed back into New Zealand to attend a memorial service for her mother.

Such a tragedy, cried The Project. The government needed to let her go right away. It was unfair to punish her this way.

Good news. The public outcry, led by The Project and others, resulted in the government amending its policy. The women were released to attend her mother’s memorial.

Except it wasn’t good news. The women had COVID-19 and instead of travelling directly to her mother’s hometown, she stopped to visit with friends along the way. She spread the disease to several people, some of whom consequently became severely ill.

The response from The Project? How could the government let this woman out of quarantine? How could they endanger Kiwis this way? They never took any responsibility for their part in getting the woman released from quarantine early.

I mention this because public outcry and politicians demands do not always lead to a good conclusion.

The leaders of the federal opposition parties are demanding a public inquiry into election interference. Only through a public inquiry will we get to know the truth, they say.

But such an inquiry will invariably lead to public harm and damage international relationships with China, India, the United States, and other countries.

Will they then take responsibility for the damage caused? Or will they try to lay that at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s feet as well?

Further, they have every opportunity to be sworn in so they can see the evidence for themselves and decide. And their MPs have seen the evidence.

But what good are the facts if you can’t use the information to blame the government?

Todd Whitcombe is a chemistry professor at UNBC.

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