OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 20, 2020 /CNW/ - Malicious cyber activities are a growing threat that affects democracies around the world. The Government of Canada is focused on countering both traditional and emerging forms of cyber interference to keep Canada's democratic processes legitimate, credible and trustworthy.
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, released an independent evaluation of the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP).
The CEIPP was the mechanism for communicating with Canadians during the 2019 election in a clear, transparent and impartial manner if there had been an egregious incident that threatened Canada's ability to have a free and fair election. The panel in charge of making such a decision was composed of five senior public servants.
The evaluation, conducted independently by former senior civil servant James Judd, found that overall the CEIPP was implemented successfully and that it was an important tool to protect our elections from traditional forms of interference. It also found that while no threats met the CEIPP's high threshold for public announcement during the 2019 General Election, the panel was prepared to report to Canadians as needed and that decision-making about potential interventions did take place as appropriate.
Threats and interference in our democracy are constantly evolving. Malicious actors are developing new tactics to manipulate information online, including wide scale disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining public trust in our institutions. While these efforts did not meet the Protocol's threshold, many Canadians recall seeing disinformation, including from foreign sources, leading up to and during the 2019 federal election. Recently, disinformation campaigns attempted to undermine Canadians' trust in the advice of public health officials.
That is why the Government of Canada is taking a comprehensive approach and has been working on a number of initiatives to counter electoral interference. This includes its work on the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, as well as the Digital Citizen Initiative. The Government knows that Canadians expect their democracy to be safeguarded against potential threats, and will continue to take concrete action to protect Canadians from electoral interference.
"I am pleased to release Mr. Judd's evaluation of the CEIPP. We are actively considering next steps to ensure the Protocol, and all of our efforts to address potential electoral interference, meets the expectations of Canadians. We know there is more work to be done to strengthen the resilience of Canadian democracy against foreign interference in elections, particularity the evolving threat of online disinformation, and that is the work we are committed to doing along with our international partners."
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
The CEIPP was one of many mechanisms safeguarding the 2019 General Election from interference. Canada's national security agencies work together on a regular basis to protect against all possible threats to Canada's democracy, both during and outside of an election period.
The CEIPP was created to ensure coherence and consistency in the Government of Canada's approach to publicly informing Canadians during the writ period about incidents of election interference.
During the 2019 election, the threshold triggering the use of the CEIPP was limited to exceptional circumstances that could impair Canada's ability to have a free and fair election, whether based on a single incident or an accumulation of incidents.
The evaluation was conducted by Mr. James Judd, a former Canadian public servant, diplomat and director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Mr. Judd also wrote the report on the evaluation.
Key recommendations from the evaluation include:
Since the 2019 General Election, the Government of Canada has taken part in a number of initiatives to combat election interference, including becoming a co-lead in the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, continuing to support the Digital Citizen Initiative and collaborating with key partners, including Elections Canada.
SOURCE Minister for Democratic Institutions
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