The Liberal government announced on Tuesday that it has activated “additional measures” to protect upcoming federal byelections from foreign interference activities.
In a press release, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc announced that the Security and Intelligence Threats (SITE) Task Force will be monitoring the lead up to the byelection and providing threat assessments to parties and government bodies.
“Since coming into office, our government has put robust measures in place to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure Canadians can continue to have confidence in their institutions. As the threats to our democracy evolve, so does our approach,” claimed LeBlanc.
“The measures we are putting in place for the duration of these byelections build on existing mechanisms, all with the goal of continuously reinforcing our defenses against foreign interference.”
SITE is expected to produce an unclassified report for the public the day after Canadians go to the polls, while a classified report will also be submitted to the Prime Minister and others.
The move comes as the Official Opposition is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take more action in protecting Canada from foreign interference.
“He’s stalling on a foreign agent registry, he won’t shut down illegal police stations, and he doesn’t have the courage to call a national public inquiry,” said Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman.
“Why would anyone believe he takes national security seriously?”
A recent testimony by Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who used to head the Asia-Pacific desk at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the house affairs committee that the actions described in allegations that China interfered in Canada’s elections are “bordering on treason.”
“(There needs to be) jail time because we’re close to treason here, literally. So I say jail time now, the size of the jail time would be judged by jurisprudence and by our system but definitely jail time,” said Juneau-Katsuya.
“I want to be very clear. We can prove that every federal government from Mr. Mulroney to Mr. Trudeau (has) been compromised by agents of Communist China. Every government was informed at one point or another. Every government chose to ignore CSIS warnings.”