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Statements and Speeches

Remarks of the Chief Electoral Officer before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs Foreign interference

November 22, 2022

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Thank you, Madam Chair.

Since my November 1st appearance, I have read news reports of foreign interference in the 2019 election. I am not in a position to speak to the accuracy of the contents of the recent news articles, but what I can say is this:

First, there were concerns prior to the 2019 election regarding the risks of foreign interference through various means.

This is why, as part of a range of actions in preparing for the 2019 election, national security agencies took part in a meeting of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties, under the auspices of Elections Canada, to raise awareness regarding possible attempts by foreign state actors to interfere in the election. As I indicated in my last appearance, protecting the security of elections is a team sport.

Second, there are clear protocols in place between national security agencies, Elections Canada, the Commissioner of Canada Elections and other law enforcement agencies to allow for the sharing of information based on respective mandates. 

The Canada Elections Act very clearly prohibits foreign contributions to candidates. According to the protocols, if there is information that would assist the investigation of illegal contributions, it should flow to the Commissioner.

I will note, however, as I did previously, that threats involving foreign state actors go well beyond issues of compliance with legislative provisions, and involve state-to-state relationships.

Thank you for inviting me today. I welcome your questions.