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China, “by far” the main instigator of interference in Canada

Photo: Adrian Wyld Archives La Presse canadienne La juge Marie-Josée Hogue estime que l’ingérence chinoise n’a pas perturbé le résultat des élections générales. Mais elle a eu des incidences néfastes sur l’écosystème électoral, et a ébranlé la confiance du public envers la démocratie canadienne.

Although other countries, particularly India, have also tried to covertly influence Canadian elections, none comes close to China's efforts to interfere in the country's politics, confirms Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue.

“Canadian authorities believe that China is the most active foreign state actor in terms of interference targeting officials, organizations politicians, candidates for political office and communities from the diaspora”, attests the interim report of the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference published Friday.

The document documents at length the few documented incidents of attempted foreign interference during the 2019 and 2021 elections, but also documents the countries suspected of being the perpetrators and their motivations. Judge Hogue summarizes the information provided to her by the Canadian Intelligence and Security Service (CSIS), much of which remains secret.

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The Liberal government gave it the mandate last September to also examine attempts at interference by other countries, under the pretext that “China is not the only country that seeks to interfere inappropriately.” The allegations in the media mainly concerned Chinese influence in the country.

The Chinese government “does not support any particular party, but rather the policies and positions it considers favorable” towards it, the report states. Judge Hogue defines interference as relating only to malicious activities, which excludes normal attempts at influence, such as diplomacy or the expression of political opinions aligned with foreign interests, for example.

India paid politicians

The document supports the surprising revelation that the India provided “illicit and clandestine financial support to various Canadian politicians.”

This country engaged in interference activities in the 2019 and 2021 Canadian general elections , confirms the report. India would use intermediaries based in Canada whose mission would be to give a helping hand to candidates who are favorable to it.

“In some cases, candidates may never have known that their campaign received illicit funds,” says Judge Hogue, without revealing more about the case.

CSIS also took “special action” in response to a “threat from Pakistan,” the neighboring country, which had also attempted to interfere in Canadian politics. This action would have succeeded in “reducing” the threat.

For its part, Russia “did not have a strong interest in the Canadian elections”, and did not ” does not seem to have intended to interfere in its Arctic neighbor. Its activities reportedly focus on disinformation activities, an issue that will be examined in the commission's next report, which is not expected before the end of the year.

Ultimately, Iran “has never been” a significant meddling actor in the Canadian elections.

Objective discredited

Judge Marie-Josée Hogue considers that Chinese interference did not disrupt the result of the general elections, and that its potential effect was limited to irregularities in some ridings.

However, it had harmful impacts on the electoral ecosystem as a whole, and shook public confidence in Canadian democracy.< /p>

“This is perhaps the greatest harm Canada has suffered from foreign interference,” she concludes.

China has an entity called the “United Front Department”, with a budget running into billions, to carry out operations to control its diaspora around the world and influence politicians.

This country “seeks to ensure that public discourse and policies in Canada complement or reflect its own, particularly with respect to its human rights record,” writes the report. He offers gifts and political support to his supporters, but threatens and harasses his opponents. It also uses the WeChat network to spread disinformation and remove content hostile to China.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116