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Elections bill doesn’t ‘sufficiently protect’ against foreign meddling: senators

Briefs | 12/07/2018 2:22 pm EDT

A Senate committee is concerned that the elections modernization bill introduced earlier this year and ahead of the 2019 federal election won’t do enough to “sufficiently protect Canadian elections from foreign interference.”

The Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee said in a report following its study of Bill C-76 that “the testimony it received indicates that there are still important and pending issues to be addressed to ensure the fairness, transparency, security and integrity of Canada’s electoral regime.”

The legislation would require federal political parties to have and make public privacy policies, eliminate the up-to $500 that foreign third-parties can spend on Canada’s elections and prohibit social media companies from knowingly running election advertising paid for with foreign money.

The report said the bill doesn’t, for example, prohibit foreign entities from expressing their opinion “on a desired outcome of the election through various forms of public transmission. This could allow a foreign government or other entity to encourage electors to vote for or against a party or candidate by broadcasting or publishing its message in a newspaper or other media in Canada.”

It concluded that “more can and must be done to deter foreign entities from interfering in Canadian elections and to hold them accountable if they do.”

The report was released Thursday, the same day the Communications Security Establishment revealed its cyber threat assessment that said it’s “very likely” that Canadians will encounter malicious online activity from state-sponsored cyber threat actors in 2019.

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