Former governor general David Johnston resigned as the Trudeau government’s controversial “special rapporteur” on Chinese election interference late Friday. 

Citing a “highly partisan atmosphere,” Johnston admitted that his role did not help build trust in Canada’s democratic institutions.

“I have concluded that, given the highly partisan atmosphere around my appointment and work, my leadership has had the opposite effect. I am therefore tendering my resignation, effective no later than the end June 2023, or as soon as I deliver a brief final report, which I hope to be earlier,” Johnston wrote in his resignation letter.

The former governor general urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appoint someone with a national security background to continue the role.

“I encourage you to appoint a respected person, with national security experience, to complete the work that I recommended in my first report. Ideally you would consult with opposition parties to identify suitable candidates to lead this effort,” Johnston wrote.

Johnston’s resignation comes as opposition parties criticized his relationship with the Trudeau family and his role as a board member of the Trudeau Foundation, which he resigned from prior to his appointment.

In May, Johnston tabled his first report which concluded that a public inquiry was not needed to look into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s elections. Opposition parties have voted on three separate occasions for a public inquiry.

Johnston’s report did not acknowledge China’s attempts to intimidate former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, Conservative MP Michael Chong and NDP MP Jenny Kwan. 

Following Johnston’s resignation, the leaders of all opposition parties immediately called on Trudeau to set up a public inquiry.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre also accused Trudeau of ruining the “reputation of a former Governor General all to cover up his own refusal to defend Canada from foreign interests and threats.”

“He must end his cover-up, stop hiding and call a full public inquiry into Beijing’s interference,” Poilievre said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc issued a statement Friday accusing Poilievre of driving Johnston out of his job, citing his “partisan attacks.”