China tried to influence last two federal elections, says report released by CSIS

China tried to influence last two federal elections, says report released by CSIS

Canada knows China tried to influence the last two federal elections, according to a top secret briefing report obtained by Global News that said the government “must do more” to fight foreign interference.

“We know that the PRC sought to clandestinely and deceptively influence the 2019 and 2021 federal elections,” according to the briefing released by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The declassified document, dated Feb. 24, 2023, is titled, “Briefing to the Minister of Democratic Institutions on Foreign Interference.” It called China “by far the most significant threat.”

It also named India as a foreign interference threat, predicted the problem would worsen and said, “we must do more to protect Canada’s robust democratic institutions and processes.”

“The PRC’s FI activities are broad in scope and significant in the level of expended resources,” it said. “The activities are significant, pervasive, and directed against all levels of government and civil society across the country.”

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FI is the government’s acronym for foreign interference, while PRC refers to the People’s Republic of China. A memo suggests the briefing was delivered to the minister by the director of CSIS.


Click to play video: 'What to watch for as foreign interference inquiry gets underway'


What to watch for as foreign interference inquiry gets underway


“The PRC leverages a vast range of tools in Canada, including the United Front Work Department, its diplomatic corps, and non-government assets such as community groups and trusted contacts.”


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The briefing report was released to Global News under the Access to Information Act as a commission of inquiry into foreign interference in Canada’s recent elections got underway in Ottawa.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the inquiry following a series of news reports by Global News and the Globe and Mail that pointed to Chinese interference in Canada’s elections.

The newly-released Canadian intelligence briefing refers to Global News and Globe reporting, saying it “has brought increased attention to PRC FI efforts in Canada, particularly with respect to elections.”

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While the government has acknowledged concerns that China may have tried to sway Canada’s elections, the report appears to be more definitive in its conclusions than Ottawa has previously acknowledged.


Click to play video: 'Canada’s foreign interference inquiry begins'


Canada’s foreign interference inquiry begins


Almost three pages of the report were devoted to India, although they were entirely redacted except for a single sentence: “India engages in FI activities.” India is the only country identified by name aside from China.

In addition, the briefing report points to the need for “clearly articulated strategies,” and said raising awareness and briefing officials and politicians was “central to these efforts.”

All government agencies must work to “detect, disrupt and publicize” interference, it said.

“The responsibility to counter these harmful activities must be shared across government, including provincial and municipal partners,” it added.

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“Ultimately, better protecting Canadian democratic institutions against FI will require a shift in the government’s perspective and a willingness to take decisive action and impose consequences on perpetrators.”

“Until FI is viewed as constituting an existential threat to Canadian democracy and the government forcefully and actively responds, these threats will persist.”

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&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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