Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

The Trudeau government is fending off accusations that proposed changes to Canada’s election laws will do little to prevent foreign attempts to influence how Canadians vote.

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections.

RELATED: Feds beef up bill to prevent foreign interference in Canadian elections

Should a foreign entity attempt something on the scale of Russia’s interventions in the 2016 American presidential election, Gould says that would be a matter of national security and the “full breadth” of tools available to the federal government would be applied.

She says those include the Criminal Code, sanctions and the Magnitsky Act, which empowers the government to freeze the assets and impose travel bans on corrupt foreign officials who have committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

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However, Sen. Serge Joyal, chair of the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, doubts C-76 includes sufficient penalties to deter foreign intervention in elections.

He notes that his committee recommended last year that the Canada Elections Act should be amended to allow for the seizure and forfeiture of the assets of any foreign entity that attempts to interfere in a Canadian election.

The Canadian Press

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