Though the Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly seems to think it's her job to work to censor domestic media and social networks to keep Canadian democratic institutions safe from foreign meddling, government data proves no such meddling existed.
“My mandate as foreign minister is really to counter propaganda online,” Joly said in a response to a puffball question from a Liberal backbencher at the Commons foreign affairs committee hearing last Friday.
The information about the lack of out-of-country influence in the last election that saw Trudeau hang on to a minority government came from a response to an inquiry of the Ministry of National Defence from Alberta Conservative MP Blake Richards.
The response was read into the official House of Commons Hansard record.
Question No. 320—Mr. Blake Richards: With regard to information the government has about the actions of foreign governments attempting to influence the 2021 Canadian election: (a) is the government aware of any attempts by foreign nations to influence the 2021 Canadian election through (i) hacking or other cyber espionage, (ii) influence operations, (iii) propaganda or false news reports, (iv) other intelligence activities, broken down by type of activity;
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, throughout the 2021 federal election, the security and intelligence threats to elections, or SITE, task force actively monitored the situation for signs of foreign interference. The SITE task force consists of representatives from the Communications Security Establishment or CSE, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Global Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and works together to raise awareness, monitor and report on threats and to provide advice to protect democratic processes. CSE’s Canadian centre for cybersecurity also worked with Elections Canada to help secure election systems and infrastructure. A panel of non-partisan senior civil servants administered the critical election incident public protocol, which includes a mandate during the election caretaker period to inform the public if an incident, or series of incidents, occurred that threatened Canada’s ability to hold a free and fair election.
During election 2021, the Government of Canada did not detect foreign or domestic interference that would have warranted the panel undertaking public communications to warn of the presence of such interference. The threshold for making an announcement is the emergence of exceptional circumstances that could impair our ability to have a free and fair election, whether based on a single incident or an accumulation of incidents. As was the case in 2019, no public announcement has been made.
The supply of Russian agents does not seem to meet the demand.