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Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue delivers an interim report on foreign interference in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections on May 3, 2024. Image: Video capture

Foreign interference did not impact overall election results: inquiry

By Brad Perry May 3, 2024 | 2:45 PM

A national public inquiry has found there was foreign interference during the last two federal elections.

But an interim report says it did not have an impact on the overall results of the 2019 and 2021 elections.

“Nonetheless, the acts of interference that occurred are a stain on our electoral process and impacted the process leading up to the actual vote,” Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue said in the report, released Friday.

The interim report follows months of investigation and interviews with more than 60 witnesses during 21 days of hearings.

Its focus was on determining whether China, Russia, and other foreign actors interfered in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and to what extent.

The commission was also tasked with examining the flow of information to senior decision-makers, as well as between a task force and the five senior public servants tasked with informing Canadians in the event of an incident that would threaten the integrity of elections.

“Voters were able to cast their ballots, their votes were duly registered and counted and there is nothing to suggest that there was any interference whatsoever in this regard. Nor did foreign interference have any impact on which party formed the government in the two most recent elections,” said Hogue.

The commissioner’s report said it is possible results in a small number of ridings were affected, but “this cannot be said with certainty.”

Hogue also noted “some communication problems” with how information about foreign interference concerns circulated within the government apparatus.

The second stage of the commission’s work will look at the capacity of federal departments, agencies, institutional structures, and governance processes to permit the government to detect, deter, and counter foreign interference.

Canadians will also have the opportunity to share their experiences with, and views on, foreign interference. A second round of public hearings will take place in the fall.

Hogue must submit her final report to the federal government no later than Dec. 31. It will include recommendations on how to protect Canada’s elections and democratic institutions from foreign interference.