Protecting Our Elections From Foreign Influence

I have previously looked at foreign influence as the public involvement in our elections. In other words the foreign actor is not taking serious steps to hide their involvement. My first premise in these comments is that elections are a matter for Canadian voters and that foreign actors have no role in any of our elections. I suggest the following policy steps to prohibit foreign actors from influencing our elections and make transparent efforts to affect political discourse outside of election periods.

  1. Ban donations from foreign actors to any entity (including registered third parties) participating in our elections/referendums at any level of government.
  2. Place a positive obligation upon entities participating in elections to ensure that funds are from Canadian sources.
  3. Establish a Foreign Agents Registry for all persons acting as agents (paid or unpaid) of a foreign principle and who are engaging in public advocacy at any level of government. They would have to disclose: relationship, amount of payment if any, and, activities that they are engaging in.
  4. Require former Reporting Public Office Holders, during the five years after they ceased to be and RPOH, to report all employment and activities on behalf of a foreign principle in relation to our government and political process at any level to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and register in the Foreign Agents Registry.

There would also be a need for general anti-avoidance provisions as well. Bill C-76 could easily be amended to include these provisions.

Author: Tom Jarmyn