Trudeau proud 2019, 2021 elections 'decided by Canadians' despite foreign interference undermining democracy

The report found that while the overall integrity of Canada's electoral system remained intact, foreign interference tarnished public confidence in Canadian democracy.

Trudeau proud 2019, 2021 elections 'decided by Canadians' despite foreign interference undermining democracy
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted to the findings of the foreign interference report released on Friday that found China undermined Canadians’ trust in our democracy.

The report found that while the overall integrity of Canada's electoral system remained intact, foreign interference tarnished public confidence in Canadian democracy, constituting the most significant harm from such meddling, according to Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue.

When asked about the report, Trudeau stated that his government “put forward a number of different bodies including an elections oversight body that can say with confidence that the 2019 and 2021 elections were, in fact, decided by Canadians despite ongoing foreign interference activities from various countries."

“The work that the commission is doing is very very important in two ways," Trudeau said. “Both to ensure that we are continuing to develop and improve our tools to counter the foreign interference by countries that want to either undermine our democracy or undermine democracy as a whole, but also [to] reassure Canadians about the things that are being done to ensure that Canadian elections are decided by Canadians."

“So I thank the commissioner for the interim report,” Trudeau said, noting that he looks forward to continued work with the committee.

The inquiry, following 10 days of public hearings, investigated allegations of interference by China, India, Russia, and other entities in the recent general elections. Hogue recognized the ongoing challenge of foreign interference globally and the government's efforts to combat it, albeit recognizing the difficulty of eradicating it entirely.

Hogue highlighted instances like the Don Valley North and Steveston-Richmond East ridings, where interference was suspected, but noted uncertainty surrounding the scope and impact of such meddling.

Ultimately, Hogue concluded that while foreign interference likely influenced some votes in both elections, the immediate impact may have been minimal, though potentially escalating in the future.

The main impact that interference had was Canadians’ trust in democratic systems, she wrote.

"Undermining faith in democracy and government is a primary aim of many of the states that engage in foreign interference. They succeeded in part in 2019 and 2021 because some Canadians have now reduced trust in Canada’s democratic process... The government must re-establish this trust by informing the public of the threat of foreign interference and by taking real and concrete steps to detect, deter, and counter it," the report reads.

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