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.
I am calling on governments across Canada, especially the federal government, to make the following changes to laws to stop foreign interference in Canadian politics:
- Require everyone and every entity to register in a foreign-agent registry if they are paid or compensated in any way, directly or indirectly, by a foreign government, foreign entity or foreigner, or have some other arrangement with them, to be involved in Canada in public relations/communications or any political activities aimed at influencing politicians, parties or governments, including disclosing who is paying them, how much they are being paid, and details about the activities;
- Stop the influence of wealthy, big money interests (especially big multinational businesses) on elections and government policies, especially by lowering the donation limit to an amount average voters can afford, and setting limits on spending aimed at influencing elections and policy-making processes for businesses and lobby groups based on the actual number of voters that support them;
- Stop the federal Commissioner of Lobbying’s and House Ethics Committee’s proposed changes to key federal ethical lobbying rules that will allow lobbyists to essentially bribe MPs and federal party leaders – see details about this at: https://bit.ly/3ZH89uZ;
- 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 and, like in our elections, only allow Canadian citizens to vote in nomination and party leadership contests;
- Have election agencies run nomination and party leadership contests, so that parties can’t rig the results;
- Prohibit false claims in elections and during policy-making processes and create a fully independent commission to require Internet and social media companies to identify who posts a false claim, and to remove posts that make any false claims;
- Require the disclosure of all donations, and all spending by candidates, parties and lobby groups, before voters vote in elections;
- Require politicians to disclose details about their finances and private interests and connections, and prohibit them from having investments in businesses, and prohibit them from participating in decisions when they have even an apparent conflict of interest;
- 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;
- Prohibit lobbyists and lobby groups from paying for interns or other staff in politicians’ or party offices (including reversing the change made on March 30, 2023 to the federal MP ethics code that allows lobbyists to pay for interns in federal MP offices);
- Create fully independent commissions whose members are appointed through independent, merit-based processes to enforce all the rules and impose on violators significant fines, multi-year bans on participating in elections and policy-making processes, and jail terms for the most serious violations.
Please let me know what you will do to ensure that these changes are made as soon as possible. I will be deciding which political party to vote for in the next election based on the responses I receive from representatives in each party. I look forward to hearing from you.