OTTAWA, ON (November 9, 2022): Global News has revealed that, according to CSIS, China had attempted to interfere with Canada’s elections in 2019. Now, in a major policy turn, Prime Minister Trudeau has embraced warnings by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute about the risk of Chinese Communist Party influence in our politics.
According to Prime Minister Trudeau, “we’re seeing that countries, state actors from around the world, whether it’s China or others, are continuing to play aggressive games with our institutions, with our democracies.” He added that the government will ensure that Canada’s security agencies are equipped to meet these kinds of challenges.
“MLI’s experts have long identified this challenge and have urged Ottawa to act, warning repeatedly about the threat China poses to Canadian democracy,” says Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley. “Though late to the game, the prime minister’s recognition of this threat to Canada is a welcome embrace of the warnings and recommendations that have been issued by MLI’s experts for several years.”
In 2022 alone, the Institute’s work on Chinese foreign interference, influence, and disinformation has appeared in or been cited by well over 1000 national and international media stories. Our body of work includes ground-breaking papers, detailed analyses, webinars, podcasts, op-eds, and much more. Led and founded by Senior Fellow Marcus Kolga, MLI has also launched a dedicated, award-winning platform for identifying and counteracting foreign disinformation called DisinfoWatch.
“Canada needs to wake up to the threats posed to our democracy by authoritarian regimes like China,” argues Kolga. “The threats are not new, and they are increasing in scope and sophistication. The time for urgent action was years ago.
“While progress has been made, Canada has much work to do to tackle these threats seriously and protect our democracy.”
Some of our experts’ recommendations have included:
- Establishing a registry of foreign agents and set higher legal standards to increase transparency and accountability.
- Applying lessons from countries such as Taiwan that are at the frontline of China’s influence and interference efforts.
- Collaborating directly with the private sector and other states in tackling digital foreign interference.
- Arming Canada’s security agencies with the means to actively defend against digital interference.
- Embracing a new strategic posture toward China, in line with our allies, that recognizes its interference attempts as the attacks against our democracy.
MLI has had a string of victories when it comes to warning of the threats from by regimes like China. Just last week, Ottawa embraced MLI’s position regarding the threats China poses when it comes to influence over Canada’s critical minerals supply chains. It should come as no surprise that MLI was directly attacked by the Chinese Embassy in an official statement back in 2020.
Despite threats and denunciations from Beijing, Moscow, and elsewhere, MLI will always advocate for Canada’s interests and security.
For more information, media are invited to contact:
613-482-8327 ext. 111