[ SkipToMainMenu ]

Why is the Government Not Calling Out Election Disinformation?

Senator Gold, in recent days, National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic LeBlanc and other senior officials have confirmed that they are not aware of any alleged interference by China with respect to 11 candidates in the 2019 election. Even so, there is a witch hunt going on for the names of the 11 candidates as well as the identities of an unspecified number of campaign workers and political staffers who are also alleged to have been funded by the Chinese government.

It is no surprise that Chinese Canadians are among those who are most likely to be put under a cloud. What is the government doing to draw a line under this kind of irresponsible speculation?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, Senator Woo, and for underlining the impact that this is having on the Chinese Canadian community.

Regrettably, as we know, there is a real concern about Chinese interference in our institutions. It has been underlined by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and by others, and, indeed, investigations are under way. It is gratifying to know that there is no evidence that the elections that have been recently held were anything but fair.

The concern you express is a real one. I know that investigations are under way, and in that regard, I’m not aware of the steps the government may be taking or considering to provide some assurance or comfort to those in the Chinese Canadian community who are feeling under the spotlight or under attack. Canadians should rest assured that the government is seriously investigating allegations, and at such time as those investigations are completed, more facts will be disclosed.

Senator Woo: The source of this allegation is a story by Global News that had no named sources and no subsequent validation by any other news outlet. Yet, the story has been repeated ad nauseam by other media and by members of both this chamber and the other place. If the story is, indeed, bogus, it has done serious damage to our democracy. Indeed, this reporting should be understood as a kind of election denialism.

Why is the government not calling out this egregious example of disinformation?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question.

As I said, the government is investigating these allegations, and until such time as those investigations are completed, it is not possible for the government to characterize the stories one way or the other.

Again, the government takes seriously not only the allegations but also the impact that they are having on the community, and investigations will continue.