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Canada panel seeks details on Indian ‘meddling’ in elections 

Commission probing foreign interference in 2019 and 2021 polls seeks information from Ottawa on India’s alleged interference

Canada panel seeks details on Indian ‘meddling’ in elections 
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

An independent commission investigating claims of foreign interference in Canadian elections has formally urged the Justin Trudeau government to gather and provide documents about alleged meddling by India. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set up the Foreign Interference Commission in September to respond to concerns about foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the commission said it had requested the government to provide “documents relating to alleged interference by India related to the 2019 and 2021 elections.”

This came just before the commission begins its public hearings on 29 January.   

According to the commission’s mandate released last year, it was to examine and assess the interference by China, Russia, and other foreign states or non-state actors in the 2019 and 2021 elections at the national and electoral district levels.

Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal, was appointed commissioner.

“The commission will also examine the flow of information within the federal government in relation to these issues, evaluate the actions taken in response, assess the federal government’s capacity to detect, deter, and counter foreign interference, and make recommendations on these issues,” the statement said. 

It will complete an interim report due by 3 May, and deliver its final report by 31 December.

The next federal election in Canada is scheduled to take place on or before 20 October 2025. 

The ministry of external affairs in New Delhi did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The allegations of election meddling are likely to further damage New Delhi-Ottawa relations, already strained by public accusations by Trudeau linking Indian agents to the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia last year, an allegation India has rejected. 

In retaliation to public accusations, India briefly suspended visa services for Canadian citizens and asked Canada to withdraw 41 diplomats citing ‘parity’ as the reason.

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