Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he would appoint an “Independent Special Rapporteur” who will be tasked with a “wide mandate and will make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening our democracy.”
Adding to what he meant by that, Trudeau said that $5.5 million would be invested to “build capacity of civil society organizations to combat disinformation,” noting that “disinformation often generated abroad can be a real threat to our elections, and it's a threat that the federal government cannot combat alone.”
The announcement came amid reports that the government ignored warnings from the CSIS about candidates' ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Trudeau said that the government has been protecting the values of “freedom, openness, and dialogue,” noting that not all governments respect those values. He noted that foreign interference had an impact in the 2016 election in the US and in France in 2017.
“Today, all political leaders agree that the election outcomes in 2019 and 2021 were not impacted by foreign interference,” Trudeau said, “but even if it didn't change the results of any of our elections, any interference attempt by any foreign actor is troubling and serious,” he said, adding that attempted interference in elections is “evolving, including with the rise of technology and social media.”
The PM said that “some have argued strongly that a public inquiry is the necessary next step. Some others have pointed out the flaws and challenges of a public inquiry.
“That's why we will ask the independent special rapporteur as one of the first tasks of their mandate to provide the government with the recommendation as to what the appropriate should be, whether it be an inquiry, an investigation, or a judicial review and what the scope of that work may be, and we will abide by their recommendation.”