Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former national security adviser is questioning whether federal departments are prepared for the risk of election meddling in 2019 and whether the federal Liberals’ legislation meant to tackle foreign interference goes far enough. “I don’t think that the reports that were issued by the government—by [the Communications Security Establishment (CSE)]—is comprehensive enough. I’m not sure the legislation that we have in place deals with all of this,” Richard Fadden said on CTV’s Question Period. “It goes to the issue again, of fake news. This is a different version of fake news, and we haven’t come to grips with it yet,” said Fadden, who also advised former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, and previously headed up CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.
In 2017, CSE issued a report that found that Canada’s democratic process is not immune to potential interference by outside actors.
Then, just last month, the agency issued a more broad report about the current cyber threat environment Canada is facing. It warned that foreign countries are “very likely” to try to sway Canadians’ public opinion with misinformation online this year.
An update on the specific threats to Canada’s democratic institutions is coming in spring 2019, with the next federal election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019.