CAPP throws support behind task force investigating foreign election interference
May 13, 2019
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The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has extended its support to the recently announced initiative to combat foreign interference in Canada’s political systems.
In particular, CAPP welcomes the creation of a Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force (Task Force) to focus on foreign-funded activists’ influence on the electoral process in Canada.
“Our industry has observed, with concern, the ongoing effects of foreign political interference in Canada and sees this initiative as an important milestone in protecting Canada’s economic, social and environmental interests, as well as our democratic institutions,” states the letter sent to various ministries in Ottawa. “The proposed initiative’s specific attention to the spread of disinformation through digital platforms is of particular interest to our membership and the oil and natural gas industry.”
There has been a significant amount of media around the activities of foreign-funded activists to influence Canadian public opinion on issues relevant to the oil and gas industry, such as pipelines. This issue has been ongoing for a number of years, and has been highlighted more recently by the CBC in a news report by Wendy Mesley.
“International interference such as this has done material harm to rural economies in Canada, including Indigenous economies, through the quashing or delay of important projects,” states CAPP. “It has also negatively impacted Canada’s investment environment resulting in capital flight, which will have long-term negative effects for the country.”
CAPP suggests that the proposed initiative could be further strengthened by formally directing the Task Force to include in its mandate the potential influence of foreign funding through Canadian groups, who have been identified as a vehicle for foreign influence in Canada’s political and democratic processes. The proposed Task Group, drawing on the resources of the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Global Affairs Canada with access to its G7 partners, is expertly equipped to confront the potential for foreign interests to influence our national dialogue through funding of these groups.
“CAPP and its members believe that foreign money should not have a path to influence Canadian elections or democratic institutions. We also believe organizations involved in spreading misinformation about Canadian industry to the detriment of Canada’s national, and many local economies should face consequences. We support the principles behind your initiative and hope to see this widening of its scope for the benefit of all Canadians.”