The federal Liberal government wants to make it easier for Canadians to cast a ballot, while making it harder for political parties — or foreign entities — to violate their privacy or persuade them who to vote for using falsehoods or vast sums of money. Treasury Board President Scott Brison introduced a bill Monday meant to address several promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on the campaign trail, including by tackling how much political parties and third-party advocacy groups can spend before and during election campaigns. It is also meant to buttress the Canadian electoral system against new threats to democracy by reining in the proliferation of so-called fake news and barring any organizations, including social media sites, from knowingly selling election advertising bought with foreign funds.
“We know that the protection of our electoral system is absolutely essential and over the years, we have seen new threats and new challenges appearing that may affect the integrity of our electoral system,” Trudeau said Monday in Vancouver.
Brison is acting as democratic institutions minister while Karina Gould, who usually fills that role, is on maternity leave.
The proposed legislation, if passed, would introduce a limit on how much political parties can spend on partisan advertising leading up to the official campaign period, which would be about $1.5 million in 2019.