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Shantona Chaudhury chosen to be Lead Counsel of Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference

Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue has chosen Shantona to lead the team hired to conduct the foreign interference probe.

On September 7, 2023, the Government of Canada established the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions. Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, a judge of the Quebec Court of Appeal, was appointed Commissioner.

Commissioner Hogue has selected Shantona Chaudhury to act as Lead counsel for the Commission. Ms. Chaudhury has significant experience in both national security law and the conduct of public inquiries. She acts as amicus curiae to the Federal Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal in matters involving national security, and recently served as co-Lead Counsel to the Public Order Emergency Commission.

I am very pleased that Shantona has accepted to build and lead a team of highly skilled professionals with relevant experience, including in national security issues and in national inquiries. This expertise will be critical in accomplishing the Commission’s mandate and in meeting its compressed deadlines,” said the Commissioner.

Shantona is a highly-regarded counsel with experience in civil and commercial litigation, administrative, constitutional, and public law. She has acted in over 40 appeals in Ontario courts, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. She is the co-Executive Director of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute. Shantona was born and raised in Montréal, and is called to the Bar in both Ontario and Québec.

The Commission will undertake its work in two phases. The first phase will focus on the interference that China, Russia and other foreign actors may have engaged in, and any impact it may have had on the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. The Commission will also examine and assess the flow of information within the federal government in relation to these issues, and evaluate the actions taken in response.

In the second phase, the Commission will examine the capacity of federal departments, agencies, institutional structures, and governance processes to permit the Government of Canada to detect, deter and counter such interference.

The Commission will hold public hearings in early 2024 and in the fall of 2024.

The Order in Council 2023-0882 requires that the Commission submit an Interim Report by February 29, 2024, and a Final Report by December 31, 2024.


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