Stop Foreign Interference in Canadian Politics Campaign

Advocating key changes to stop foreign interference in politics across Canada

Please send your letter now using the form on this page, and please help spread the word by Liking and Tweeting this page.

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The Opportunity

The federal government and other governments across Canada are considering what measures are needed to stop interference by China, Russia, Iran and other countries to influence our elections and politicians. The federal government has proposed some changes to laws, and Parliament has enacted some of the changes, but the changes do not close key loopholes that allow for foreign interference, and the enforcement system is still much too weak, ineffective and controlled by the ruling party Cabinet.

Please click Send on this page to send your letter to the Prime Minister and other key federal politicians, and your provincial Premier and provincial politicians, calling for key changes to Stop Foreign Interference in Canadian Politics – changes that will:

    1. Require anyone who is paid in any way by a foreign government or foreign-controlled entity to try to influence politics in any way anywhere in Canada, or has any kind of arrangement with them to try to do this, to disclose in an online, searchable database their activities and who is paying them and how much they are being paid.
    2. Stop the influence of wealthy, big money interests (especially big multinational businesses and industry associations) on elections and government policies by lowering the annual donation and loan limit to an amount average voters can afford, prohibiting anyone or any entity from paying any expenses of any contestant or candidate, and setting limits on spending aimed at influencing elections and policy-making processes for lobby groups based on the actual number of voters that support them, and prohibit Canadian owned/controlled-businesses and industry associations from spending money on ads or political activities aimed at affecting policy or elections, and prohibit foreign owned/controlled businesses and industry associations from doing any such political activities.
    3. Reverse the federal Commissioner of Lobbying’s and House Ethics Committee’s changes that gutted key federal ethical lobbying rules in ways that allow lobbyists to essentially bribe MPs and federal party leaders.
    4. Prohibit lobbyists and lobbying businesses and groups from colluding with people who are trying to be nominated as an election candidate or campaigning to be the leader of a political party.
    5. Have election agencies run nomination and party leadership contests, so that parties can’t rig the results, and only allow citizens who are 18 or older and registered voters to vote in nomination and leadership contests (same as in elections).
    6. Prohibit false claims in elections and during policy-making processes by prohibiting anyone and any entity from having a social media account that is anonymous and does not identify the person or entity behind the account, and by prohibiting all false claims including prohibiting Internet, social media and all other companies from allowing fake videos and audio files to be posted on their sites and prohibiting TV, radio and telecommunications companies from allowing the transmission of a fake audio or video (especially that imitate politicians and public officials), and create a fully independent commission to require Internet and social media companies to remove posts that make any false claims, and to remove posts that make any false claims, and to penalize anyone who posts a false claim.
    7. Require the disclosure of all donations, and all spending by candidates, parties and lobby groups, and disclosure of the identities of their campaign staff and anyone who fundraised or did significant volunteering for them, every quarter in an online, searchable database, and updated before voters vote in elections and by-elections, and empower the election agency to audit the disclosures, donations and spending of candidates, parties and lobby groups.
    8. Require politicians, their staff, and all government appointees and employees (including at agencies, boards, commissions, tribunals and government corporations) to disclose details about their finances and other jobs and private interests and connections in an online, searchable database, and prohibit them from having investments in businesses or financial interests or liabilities or jobs connected with any foreign business, entity or government, and prohibit them from participating in decisions when they have even the appearance of a conflict of interest, and make it even more clear that furthering the interests of a foreign government, individual or entity is a violation of ethics rules.
    9. Close all the loopholes that allow for secret, unethical lobbying, and require disclosure of how much each lobby group spends on lobbying, and who funds them, and prohibit foreign-owned/controlled businesses and business/industry associations from all lobbying activities except making public, written submissions to the government and testifying before parliamentary committees.
    10. Prohibit lobbyists and lobby groups from paying for interns or other staff in politicians’ or political party offices, and prohibit politicians and public officials from accepting any gifts or benefits, including removing the exemption in the Criminal Code and in any ethics code that allows them to accept a gift or benefit if their boss approves it.
    11. Close all the loopholes that allow for “beneficial ownership” of any business across Canada that hides the identity of the actual owners, and require lawyers to report suspicious transactions to Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

And the following key changes are also needed to ensure that enforcement of the 11 anti-foreign interference rules listed above is independent, effective, transparent and accountable:

  1. Create fully independent commissions whose members are appointed through independent, merit-based processes to enforce all the above foreign agent, election, political finance, ethics and lobbying rules (including changing the federal Critical Election Incident Public Protocol Panel into a fully independent commission), and require all the commissions to issue a public ruling/report right after they review or investigate any situation, and empower all the commissions to impose on violators significant fines, multi-year bans on participating in elections and policy-making processes, and jail terms for the most serious violations, and allow any member of the public to challenge any decision or ruling of these commissions in court.
  2. Establish a new, fully independent anti-foreign interference/anti-corruption police force with the head and senior officers appointed for a fixed-term through an independent, merit-based process, and with well-trained, specialized investigators and prosecutors, and require the force to investigate all allegations of foreign interference and corruption and report publicly on the results of every investigation (whether or not anyone is prosecuted).
  3. Make the RCMP and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) fully independent from Cabinet, with the heads of the RCMP and FINTRAC appointed for a fixed-term through an independent, merit-based process, and with FINTRAC reporting to the new anti-corruption police force not to a Cabinet minister.
  4. Increase the penalties for anyone and any entity involved in foreign interference or corruption activities, including money-laundering.
  5. Prohibit all police forces, and police officer unions, and all entities that enforce any law, from doing fundraising, including through a foundation or other organization, or giving grants to individuals, businesses or other organizations, and from holding events where anyone can pay to have access to police officers.
  6. Establish a best-practice whistleblower protection system that protects anyone who blows the whistle on violations of any of the laws/rules listed above, including empowering the independent commissions to pay for a lawyer to advise whistleblowers of their rights, to reward whistleblowers if their claims are proven, and to protect them from retaliation and penalize anyone who retaliates against them.

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Background

Anyone and any organization can secretly work in Canada for a foreign government, pushing the foreign country’s agenda and trying to undemocratically and unethically influence our elections, politicians and government officials.

Lobby groups, including foreign-government funded lobby groups, are allowed to secretly support, and collude with, people campaigning to be nominated as an election candidate, and people who are trying to become the leader of a political party.

False claims by anyone, including by foreign actors, about candidates, party leaders, and policies are allowed during elections, and during policy-making processes, including false promises by politicians and government officials.

Because of huge loopholes in lobbying laws, it is legal to lobby governments and politicians across Canada in secret.

Huge loopholes in ethics rules also allow lobbyists, including foreign-government funded lobbyists and lobby groups, to secretly fundraise and campaign for politicians, and then ask for favours afterwards.Big money donations and gifts from lobbyists to politicians, and spending by lobby groups to support politicians and parties, are also all legal across Canada.

Loopholes in ethics rules also allow politicians to have secret investments and then participate in policy-making processes in ways that will help themselves make more money.

To stop foreign governments and organizations interfering in Canadian politics and secretly influencing Canadian politicians and governments, all of the loopholes in our lobbying, ethics, election, political donation and spending laws need to be closed, and everyone and every organization needs to be required to register in a public foreign-agent registry if they are being paid in any way by a foreign government or entity or have an arrangement to advocate a foreign government’s or entity’s interests in Canada.