The Liberal government should toughen up Canada’s election law to better protect the voting process from foreign influence — and money — in time for the 2019 campaign, senators argue in a new report. “The (Canada Elections Act) does not sufficiently protect Canadian elections from improper foreign interference,” said a report released Thursday by the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs. “The existing regime that regulates third-party advertising requires modernization in order to better ensure transparency and electoral fairness.” There have been growing concerns about foreign influence in the electoral process, especially after the French and U.S. elections and the investigation into alleged Russian interference to help ensure the victory of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The report was released as former FBI director James Comey appeared before the U.S. Senate intelligence committee to discuss his firing and the investigation of Russian election meddling.
It calls for clearer language barring foreign entities from inducing Canadians to vote in a particular way and for stronger criminal penalties for doing so.
The committee also wants an overhaul of the rules for third-party involvement, with Conservatives pointing the finger mainly at environmental groups that campaigned against former prime minister Stephen Harper in 2015.