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What the foreign interference inquiry has to say about foreign election meddling

OTTAWA — A public inquiry into allegations of foreign meddling in Canada’s last two elections released its preliminary findings Friday, and concluded attempts to interfere did not impact the integrity of the 2021 and 2019 votes. 

The inquiry, led by Justice Marie-Josée Hogue, provided a question-and-answer summary of its findings.

Here are the commissioner’s conclusions, as they appear in the report: 

− Was there foreign interference targeting the 2019 and 2021 general elections? 

Yes. I have no difficulty concluding that there was. 

− Did foreign interference undermine the integrity of the electoral system itself? 

No. The administration of the elections was sound. 

− Did foreign interference impact which party came into power in 2019 or 2021? 

No, it did not. 

− Did foreign interference impact any election results at a riding level? 

This is a more difficult question to answer. It is possible that results in a small number of ridings were affected, but this cannot be said with certainty. 

− Did foreign interference nevertheless impact the broader electoral ecosystem? 

It did. Regardless of impact on specific election results, all foreign interference impacts the right of Canadians to have their electoral processes and democratic institutions free from covert influence, and their right to vote freely and in an informed manner. 

− Did foreign interference undermine public confidence in Canadian Democracy? 

Regrettably, the answer is yes. This is perhaps the greatest harm Canada has suffered as a result of foreign interference. 

− Did foreign interference impact everyone equally? 

It did not. The means and methods of foreign interference harm diaspora communities in Canada in distinct ways. Their experiences must not be ignored, and specific attention shall be given to them

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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