PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced that to combat foreign interference and uphold confidence in Canada’s democratic institutions:
- He has asked the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) to complete a review to assess the state of foreign interference in federal electoral processes. The NSICOP is well placed to look at foreign interference attempts that occurred in the 43rd and 44th federal general elections, including potential effects on Canada’s democracy and institutions, and have their findings and recommendations reported to Parliament.
- He spoke to the Chair of the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) about a review of how Canada’s national security agencies handled the threat of foreign interference during the 43rd and 44th federal general elections, specifically around the flow of information from national security agencies to decision makers. Given it is an external and independent body, the NSIRA will appropriately set its own mandate and scope of study in the coming days. Their findings will also be reported to Parliament.
Trudeau also announced that in the coming days we will appoint an eminent Canadian to the position of Independent Special Rapporteur, who will have a wide mandate to make expert recommendations on protecting and enhancing Canadians’ faith in our democracy.
In the coming weeks, the Independent Special Rapporteur will be responsible for informing the work of the NSIRA and the NSICOP and any other existing processes and investigations that may be carried out by independent bodies like Canada’s Commissioner of Elections and identify gaps that may still remain in the oversight and protection of our democracy.
The Independent Special Rapporteur will make public recommendations, which could include a formal inquiry or some other independent review process, and the Government of Canada will abide by the recommendation.
Trudeau said that together, these measures will give a better understanding of what happened in the last two federal general elections: how foreign governments tried to interfere, how security agencies in Canada responded to the threat of interference, and how the information flowed across government.
Trudeau also announced a series of new measures to take immediate action to combat the threat of foreign interference. The Government of Canada is:
- Launching public consultations later this week to guide the creation of a Foreign Influence Transparency Registry in Canada to ensure transparency and accountability from people who advocate on behalf of a foreign government and ensure communities who are often targeted by attempts at foreign interference are protected.
- Establishing a new National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator in Public Safety Canada to coordinate efforts to combat foreign interference.
- Developing a plan to address outstanding recommendations from the NSICOP, the independent assessment of the Protocol (Rosenberg Report), and other reviews on these matters, within the next 30 days.
- Investing $5.5 million to strengthen the capacity of civil society partners to counter disinformation.
Trudeau said: “As a government, it’s our job to protect our institutions and everyone who calls Canada home. Today, we’re taking even further action to protect our democratic institutions, to defend their integrity, and to uphold and strengthen confidence in our democracy. We will always take foreign attempts at undermining our democracy very seriously.”