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Liberals table anti-foreign interference bill

Photo: Spencer Colby The Canadian Press Federal Minister of Public Safety, Dominic LeBlanc, during question period in the House of Commons, May 6, 2024

The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Posted at 6:04 p.m. Updated at 8:19 p.m.

  • Canada

Legislative measures introduced Monday to combat foreign interference would strengthen criminal provisions, open the door to broader sharing of sensitive information and establish a transparency registry on foreign influence.

The Liberal government tabled the bill in the House of Commons, which would include new targeted foreign interference offenses as well as a sabotage offense focused on conduct directed against critical infrastructure.

The bill would also allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to disclose sensitive information beyond the halls of government to build resilience against foreign interference.

States may engage in interference to promote foreign political objectives and employ individuals to act on their behalf without revealing their ties.

The new Foreign Influence Transparency Registry would require certain individuals to register with the federal government to guard against such activities.

The bill is introduced just days after a federal commission of inquiry concluded that foreign interference from China, India, Russia or other countries did not affect the results of the 2019 and 2021 general elections as a whole.

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On Friday, Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue said in an interim report that it was possible — but not certain — that election results in a small number of ridings were affected by the interference.

Ms. Hogue concluded that foreign interference had undermined public confidence in Canadian democracy, saying it was perhaps the greatest harm Canada had suffered.< /p>

Repercussions on the rights and freedoms of citizens

The Business Council of Canada applauded the bill, asserting that CSIS would be able to communicate more specific and tangible information to Canadian companies.

“This would allow business leaders to better understand the growing threat [of foreign interference], as well as the protective measures that could be taken to better protect their employees, their customers and the communities in which they operate,” a said Council Chairman Goldy Hyder.

More must be done to combat foreign interference, particularly actions that threaten or result in actual harm, for its part declared the Coalition for International Civil Liberties Monitoring, a group based in Ottawa which brings together 45 organizations including Amnesty International, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Muslim Forum.

However, several of the bill's proposals go well beyond the simple issue of foreign interference and will have broad implications for the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens, the watchdog group said.

For example, CSIS will be able to secretly collect and analyze quantities of information on Canadians if the law is adopted. There will also be changes to the types of information the intelligence service can disclose, and to whom it can disclose it, as well as new rules regarding what evidence can be disclosed in open court, the group said.

“These and other changes deserve their own specific analysis, but they are being packaged into another omnibus bill. »

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