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Todd Whitcombe: Poilievre makes mountains out of mole hills

He is trying to manufacture a wedge issue to deflect from a lack of policy.
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Pierre Poilievre

Former Governor-General David Johnston has been appointed special rapporteur tasked with assessing foreign interference in Canadian elections.

His credentials are impeccable. He is a legal scholar who took on the role of Dean of Law at the University of Western Ontario then principal of McGill University and finally president of the University of Waterloo before being appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the governor-general of Canada in 2010 and reappointed by Harper for a second term in 2015.

What’s not to like?

He is a man of unquestionable integrity and commitment to Canada. Someone who should have the support of all parties in the House of Commons. Someone Canadians respect and trust.

But this past week, we have seen the opposition leaders taking pot shots at Johnston’s selection due to his role on the board of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and being a family friend of the Trudeaus. Pierre Poilievre has gone as far as describing the Foundation as “Chinese-backed.”

Yet, Poilievre was complicit in the appointment of Johnston to write the terms of reference for the Airbus inquiry into political payoffs. After all, he was part of Stephen Harper’s government. Further, he accepted the appointment and re-appointment of Johnston as Governor-General with nary a peep.

So what is really going on?

In my opinion, we are seeing the Canadian version of politics south of the border where the Republicans are creating straw men just so they can knock them down and claim they are doing something. It is populist politics hoping that no one is really thinking about the issue.

It would seem Poilievre would like to make a mountain out of this mole hill for political gains and not the best interests of the country. He is trying to manufacture a wedge issue to deflect from a lack of policy.

If Johnston fully assesses international interference in our elections, the buck won’t stop with the Chinese government. It is certainly not going to stop with just Liberal MPs.

In a globalized world, with free trade and international corporations, it is virtually impossible for any political candidates to not accept money which could be viewed as coming from a foreign source. Poilievre should be careful with his glass house.

Todd Whitcombe is a chemistry professor at UNBC.