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China and Russia are meddling in Canadian affairs, a national security-and-intelligence watchdog says in a new report that cites evidence of "significant and sustained" foreign interference directed at Canada.

In its annual report, made public Thursday, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians singles out the two countries for trying to exploit the openness of Canadian society and penetrating key institutions for their own ends.

It says these states and other, unnamed ones target ethnocultural communities, try to corrupt the political process, manipulate the media and influence debate on university campuses.

"Each of these activities poses a significant risk to the rights and freedoms of Canadian and to the country's sovereignty: they are a clear threat to the security of Canada," the report says.

Overall, the committee finds efforts by foreign adversaries to interfere in Canada's affairs pose a significant and growing risk.

"Canada is not alone in facing this threat. Its closest security and intelligence allies, including those within the Five Eyes and NATO, are targeted by many of the same foreign states using many of the same techniques."

The committee says the federal government has been slow to react to the threat of foreign interference and recommends the problem be addressed in a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach.

It also calls for central leadership, pointing to Australia's creation of a national co-ordinator to guard against foreign interference.

The committee, established in 2017, has the authority to review sensitive activities across the federal government. It submits classified reports to the prime minister, which are later tabled in Parliament in edited form.

In a second, special report the committee says the Defence Department might be running afoul of the Privacy Act concerning its overseas collection of information on Canadians.

It recommends the defence minister ensure compliance with federal privacy law in all of its intelligence activities, whether in Canada or abroad.

China, Russia interfering with Canadian affairs, watchdog report says

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2020.

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Targeting ethno-cultural groups strikes me as the most perfidious part of foreign interfernce. We know from personal reports and from malevolent events reported elsewhere that both governments surveil expats and have been known to harm those they deem dangerous to the the image of innocence they try to project. It is quite possible this activity is invasive and threatening to many recent refugee/asylum arrivals so that the targeting is punitive to those people.

I would be interested to know how much, how, where, when and by what means they are trying to destabilize, or influence Canadians with no obvious ties to these foreign actors.

Naturally we need to try to protect the threatened expats from harm AND reveal and counter Russion and Chinese disinformation

And then there is the United States trying to influence us. One gets some idea of it by reading John Foster’s book Oil and World Politics (2018); Foster knows this stuff from the inside.

How else did anyone think we've got the last few election results?
How else does anyone account for the rampant misinformation "even" on the CBC (perhaps especially around anything relating to the petro-chemical industry)?
While I deplore the crap promulgated on the net that is anti-indigenous, I don't think poor-bashing or promoting antagonism toward seniors or disabled people to be any better.
We have enough antagonism against public education, poor people, etc. emanating directly from government, not to mention regressive action on climate issues.
Other "players" likely include nations impoverished by unbridled extraction capitalism and commodification of other countries' economies.
That's no excuse for China, Russia, or anyone else. But our own governments hardly resemble Easter lilies ... gilded or not.