Election meddling by foreign powers already underway, says Canadian spy agency

CSE CanadaThe manipulation of social media by foreign governments aiming to sow division in Canada ahead of the country’s federal election in October is growing, according to the country’s signals intelligence agency. In a report published Monday, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s national communications interception agency, warns that election meddling by foreign powers is already taking place. The report, titled “2019 Update: Cyber Threats to Canada’s Democratic Process”, says that voters, as well as specific political figures, have been targeted by foreign powers since 2015 in the North American country.

The foreign intelligence agencies behind the efforts to manipulate Canada’s electoral process have systematically attempted to “polarize Canadians or undermine Canada’s foreign policy goals”, says the report. These efforts will continue and intensify in the run-up to October, claims the report, and concludes by warning that Canadians should expect to “encounter some form of foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, the 2019 federal election”. However, foreign cyber interference on the scale that was experienced in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election in the United States is improbable, according to the CSE.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s primary national intelligence service, said in an interview last week that Ottawa would have to be patient in dealing with Russia and —especially— China. Speaking at a public forum hosted by the Canadian International Council in Vancouver, Richard Fadden noted that neither China nor Russia wish to go to war with the West. What they want instead is to “fragment the West” and thus increase their own influence on the international scene, said Fadden, who directed the CSIS from 2009 to 2013. It would be fair for Canada to “poke back”, he said, but would have to be “careful how [to] do it”, he added. “We need to be realistic. We’re dealing with an emergent superpower and […] we’re going to have to be patient”, Fadden concluded.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 09 April 2019 | Research credit: C.D. | Permalink

3 Responses to Election meddling by foreign powers already underway, says Canadian spy agency

  1. Komet says:

    Fadden is right – and actions like the ones he recommends are probably underway behind the scenes. The obvious and not so obvious attempts by Russia, China and others to interfere with the democratic flow of life in the west must be treated as a war without hot weapons , swiftly cautiously but without any doubts

  2. Pete says:

    In terms of “foreign governments aiming to sow division in Canada” I daresay the Russians would want to use social media to boost ill-feeling between French Canadians and the majority of Canadians with British roots.

    Basically, in the correlation of forces, driving wedges within and between NATO countries favours Russia.

  3. farang says:

    Uh-huh, Russia is “interfering with the democratic flow of life”…while conducting internationally monitored elections, while the USA refuses to open theirs…

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