March 12, 2020 (Toronto) – Interference in Canada’s democracy through foreign election spending and influence by foreign intelligence agencies is a real concern and needs to be addressed quickly, says Marilyn Gladu.
“First, Elections Canada Commissioner Yves Cote went on record expressing concern that foreign actors in our elections may have actually affected outcomes,” Gladu said today.
“Now, a senate committee investigating foreign interference in Canada’s domestic affairs is indicating this interference ‘represents a significant and growing risk’ to Canadians’ rights and the country’s sovereignty,” says Gladu, referring to the report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians which was apparently leaked to media today.
“Whether we are talking about foreign intelligence agencies or activists funded with foreign money, both have real and serious potential to affect Canada’s democracy.”
Gladu is calling upon Senators to quickly re-introduce a Bill intended to close the loophole on foreign election spending and then allow it to move on quickly to debate.
A Bill, “An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (eliminating foreign funding)” was introduced by Senator Linda Frum and was identified as S-239 last session, but it died on the order paper at the 2019 election.
“American lobby groups funnelling cash into astroturf campaigns to mislead voters in Canada is real; it’s happening now. Bill S-239 proposed to closing some of the loopholes allowing this money to be spent on Canadian elections.
Gladu points out that during the recent railway blockades, First Nations MLA Ellis Ross was very public about the harm foreign funding of astroturf protests and campaigns is doing to indigenous communities and young people.
“This has to stop,” she says.
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Rita Smith 647 242 5505