A leading NATO researcher says Canada should assume Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2019 federal election because that would serve the Kremlin’s purpose of helping destabilize the military alliance. The allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as its attempts to disrupt votes in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, among other countries, makes Canada a natural target, Janis Sarts, the director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence said in an interview. Russia is attracted to Canada because destabilizing it would “undermine the cohesion” of the broader NATO alliance. Moreover, it could serve to undermine Canadian policy in Europe, he said.
It would also allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to project strength inside his country by showing that “other countries are afraid of Russia,” said Sarts, who testified last year at the U.S. Senate intelligence committee about Russian interference.
“The moment somebody can question the integrity of the elections and the election result, democracy is in trouble,” Sarts said.