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CSIS Director David Vigneault, left to right, then-RCMP deputy commissioner Michael Duheme, Communications Security Establishment Chief Caroline Xavier and CSIS Deputy Director of Operations Michelle Tessier discuss where to sit before appearing at parliamentary committee hearing on March 2.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The RCMP should be able to use intelligence gathered by CSIS as evidence in criminal investigations into allegations of foreign interference – with some limits, the national police force’s interim commissioner says.

CTV has released a segment of an interview that will air on Question Period Sunday, in which the Interim Commissioner Michael Duheme says he is worried about foreign interference.

“I’ve seen it through a criminal lens, as to what we’ve been involved with: foreign actor interference. And I also see it through when the service briefs the round table at the deputy minister level,” he said.

“So yes, I am very, very concerned.”

The force’s leader says in the interview that RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service need to improve collaboration and information-sharing and the federal government should consider changing legislation to allow the force to use CSIS intelligence as evidence, according to CTV.

“I believe there are efforts to be made to change legislation,” he said.

He acknowledged, however, the challenges of allowing the RCMP to use intelligence gathered by CSIS.

“You don’t want to reveal any trade secrets of how this is collected. And again, for a criminal investigation, you have to be able to demonstrate how the investigation began. And with the full and frank disclosure that we face … that is challenging sometimes when you want to use some intelligence that’s not accessible or cannot be used for law enforcement purposes,” he said.

“I’m hoping we can land [on] a solution where we can use intelligence in our criminal investigations.”

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The RCMP leader’s comments follow a series of reports in The Globe and Mail based on secret and top-secret CSIS documents detailing meddling from the Chinese government and its proxies in the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections.

The interim commissioner told MPs last month that the Mounties are not investigating any allegations of foreign interference in the two elections, saying: “We did not receive any actionable intelligence that would warrant us to initiate a criminal investigation.”

Opposition parties have strongly criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to media reports on China’s interference in Canadian politics. In response to opposition calls to immediately strike a public inquiry, Mr. Trudeau instead appointed former governor-general David Johnston to advise him on whether he should launch one.

Mr. Trudeau has also asked two closed-door panels, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA), to study China’s interference in the past two federal elections. The results of their work will be reviewed by Mr. Johnston.

With reports from Steven Chase, Robert Fife and Nathan VanderKlippe.

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