Tories Back Liberal Foreign Interference Legislation, Urge Quick Passage

The Conservative Party has thrown its support behind a Liberal government bill designed to combat foreign interference in Canadian elections, marking a bipartisan collaboration.Conservative MP Michael Chong, serving as the party’s foreign affairs critic, called on Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc to expedite the passage of Bill C-70 before the next election, to ensure measures aimed at safeguarding the democratic electoral process are in place. The bill would create a foreign influence transparency registry and increase criminal penalties for foreign meddling.“Canada’s democracy has never been more vulnerable to foreign interference,” Mr. Chong said, citing findings from Foreign Interference Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue’s interim report, released on May 3.Following public hearings to investigate Beijing’s alleged election interference, the commissioner concluded that “interference occurred in the last two general elections” in Canada. The report also found that foreign meddling had “diminished the ability of some voters to cast an informed vote.”Shortly after the release of the interim report, on May 6, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-70, aiming to establish a foreign influence registry. This legislation follows years of parliamentary efforts to introduce similar mechanisms enhancing transparency regarding individuals advocating for a foreign entity.In April 2021, former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu introduced a comparable private member’s bill, C-282. However, it did not progress past the second reading before the House of Commons adjourned for the summer break. Subsequently, an election was called in August 2021, effectively ending consideration of the legislation. Later, Senator Leo Housakos introduced a similar bill, S-237, in February 2022, but it has not gained sufficient support.Related StoriesPointing to past delays in advancing similar legislation, Conservatives stated their backing for the long-awaited Liberal bill.“Conservatives will work with the Government to ensure this Bill is passed as swiftly as possible. This is essential to restore the confidence that Canadians have in their elections,” Mr. Chong said, referencing Ms. Hogue’s warning that the “risk of foreign interference will only increase as long as ‘sufficient protective measures to guard against it’ are not taken.”In addition to supporting Bill C-70, the Conservatives have demonstrated a willingness to transcend partisanship by voting in favour of the Liberal Bill C-58, which passed third reading before the House of Commons on May 27. The bill prohibits the use of replacement workers in federally regulated workplaces during strikes, which constitutes a significant aspect of the supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberals and NDP.UrgencyMr. Chong’s call for the bill’s swift passage echoed sentiments previously raised by an advocate. Gloria Fung, president of the Canada-Hong Kong Link, voiced concerns about the limited time for parliamentarians to pass the legislation before the next federal election, citing concerns about potential repeat interference incidents.“If [the bill isn’t passed], then for sure the election infiltration and interference we experienced in 2019 and 2021 will repeat itself in the 2025 election. Therefore, we call upon all members of Parliament and senators to share this sense of urgency. We will be watching how all parties respond to this need for immediate action,” she said in a previous interview with The Epoch Times.When announcing the proposed legislation on May 6, Mr. LeBlanc emphasized the government’s commitment to collaboration with opposition parties to expedite the bill’s passage. In a press conference that day, he stated, “We intend to proceed quickly.”Proposed MeasuresThe Liberals’ proposed Bill C-70 aims to enhance measures against foreign interference in Canadian affairs. Alongside creating new offences targeting foreign interference and sabotage of essential infrastructure, the legislation proposes modifications to existing acts.The proposed changes would allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to share sensitive information with non-federal partners to bolster resilience against threats. Amendments to the CSIS Act would also expand the agency’s authority to obtain warrants and collect foreign intelligence within Canada.The bill would also make adjustments to the Security of Information Act, a key legislation addressing foreign interference. It would introduce three new offences: general foreign interference against Canada, committing indictable offences on behalf of foreign entities, and interference with democratic processes such as electoral interference.The bill also proposes amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code aimed to enhance the legal response to acts of sabotage. These changes include the creation of a new sabotage offence related to essential infrastructure, the introduction of a new offence for making and distributing devices to commit sabotage, an

Tories Back Liberal Foreign Interference Legislation, Urge Quick Passage

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The Conservative Party has thrown its support behind a Liberal government bill designed to combat foreign interference in Canadian elections, marking a bipartisan collaboration.

Conservative MP Michael Chong, serving as the party’s foreign affairs critic, called on Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc to expedite the passage of Bill C-70 before the next election, to ensure measures aimed at safeguarding the democratic electoral process are in place. The bill would create a foreign influence transparency registry and increase criminal penalties for foreign meddling.
“Canada’s democracy has never been more vulnerable to foreign interference,” Mr. Chong said, citing findings from Foreign Interference Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue’s interim report, released on May 3.

Following public hearings to investigate Beijing’s alleged election interference, the commissioner concluded that “interference occurred in the last two general elections” in Canada. The report also found that foreign meddling had “diminished the ability of some voters to cast an informed vote.”

Shortly after the release of the interim report, on May 6, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-70, aiming to establish a foreign influence registry. This legislation follows years of parliamentary efforts to introduce similar mechanisms enhancing transparency regarding individuals advocating for a foreign entity.

In April 2021, former Conservative MP Kenny Chiu introduced a comparable private member’s bill, C-282. However, it did not progress past the second reading before the House of Commons adjourned for the summer break. Subsequently, an election was called in August 2021, effectively ending consideration of the legislation. Later, Senator Leo Housakos introduced a similar bill, S-237, in February 2022, but it has not gained sufficient support.

Pointing to past delays in advancing similar legislation, Conservatives stated their backing for the long-awaited Liberal bill.

“Conservatives will work with the Government to ensure this Bill is passed as swiftly as possible. This is essential to restore the confidence that Canadians have in their elections,” Mr. Chong said, referencing Ms. Hogue’s warning that the “risk of foreign interference will only increase as long as ‘sufficient protective measures to guard against it’ are not taken.”

In addition to supporting Bill C-70, the Conservatives have demonstrated a willingness to transcend partisanship by voting in favour of the Liberal Bill C-58, which passed third reading before the House of Commons on May 27. The bill prohibits the use of replacement workers in federally regulated workplaces during strikes, which constitutes a significant aspect of the supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberals and NDP.
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Urgency

Mr. Chong’s call for the bill’s swift passage echoed sentiments previously raised by an advocate. Gloria Fung, president of the Canada-Hong Kong Link, voiced concerns about the limited time for parliamentarians to pass the legislation before the next federal election, citing concerns about potential repeat interference incidents.
“If [the bill isn’t passed], then for sure the election infiltration and interference we experienced in 2019 and 2021 will repeat itself in the 2025 election. Therefore, we call upon all members of Parliament and senators to share this sense of urgency. We will be watching how all parties respond to this need for immediate action,” she said in a previous interview with The Epoch Times.
When announcing the proposed legislation on May 6, Mr. LeBlanc emphasized the government’s commitment to collaboration with opposition parties to expedite the bill’s passage. In a press conference that day, he stated, “We intend to proceed quickly.”
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Proposed Measures

The Liberals’ proposed Bill C-70 aims to enhance measures against foreign interference in Canadian affairs. Alongside creating new offences targeting foreign interference and sabotage of essential infrastructure, the legislation proposes modifications to existing acts.

The proposed changes would allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to share sensitive information with non-federal partners to bolster resilience against threats. Amendments to the CSIS Act would also expand the agency’s authority to obtain warrants and collect foreign intelligence within Canada.

The bill would also make adjustments to the Security of Information Act, a key legislation addressing foreign interference. It would introduce three new offences: general foreign interference against Canada, committing indictable offences on behalf of foreign entities, and interference with democratic processes such as electoral interference.

The bill also proposes amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code aimed to enhance the legal response to acts of sabotage. These changes include the creation of a new sabotage offence related to essential infrastructure, the introduction of a new offence for making and distributing devices to commit sabotage, and clarification of the intention required for a sabotage offence.

Revisions to the Canada Evidence Act would establish a federal administrative proceedings system, allowing judges to evaluate sensitive information while safeguarding it from public disclosure.

Matthew Horwood contributed to this report.

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