Canadian police probe media reports of alleged Chinese election interference

by Jacob Fuller

Canadian police are investigating media reports that cited secret intelligence on alleged Chinese attempts to influence elections for potential violations of information security laws, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Monday.

Canadian media have recently published detailed reports, citing anonymous intelligence sources, alleging schemes run by Beijing to interfere in Canada’s elections in 2021 and 2019.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s top security officials have acknowledged interference attempts by China, but they insist that election outcomes were not altered. They have not confirmed the media reports.

China denies all allegations of interference, saying it has no interest in meddling with Canada’s internal affairs.

“The RCMP has initiated an investigation into violations of the Security of Information Act associated with recent media reports. This investigation is not focused on any one security agency,” RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival said in a statement.

The Security of Information Act, which was previously known as the Official Secrets Act, deals with protecting sensitive government information.

Canada’s Deputy Public Safety Minister Shawn Tupper told a parliamentary committee last week that the RCMP was not investigating any of the allegations of Chinese influence. The RCMP’s statement on Monday indicates its investigation is targeted only on the information leaks.

Canada’s spy agency is also conducting a probe of how classified information was leaked to news organizations, the agency’s director, David Vigneault, told the parliamentary committee last week.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters