Statements and Speeches: Commissioner of Canada Elections

Remarks for the Commissioner of Canada Elections
before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

March 2, 2023

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Thank you, Madam Chair.

I appreciate the invitation to appear before the committee again today.

As Commissioner of Canada Elections, I take the issue of foreign interference in our elections very seriously.

The Canada Elections Act defines the scope of my mandate and covers very specific activities related to foreign interference. This role is complementary to others who play a key role in protecting our democracy and with whom we collaborate.

Since my last appearance on November 1, additional allegations of foreign interference have circulated in the public environment and have led to complaints to my office.

I am seized with the importance of this issue, as well as the need to reassure Canadians under these exceptional circumstances.

I would therefore like to inform you that we have conducted a rigorous and thorough review of every complaint and every piece of information that has been brought to our attention concerning allegations of foreign interference in both the 2019 and 2021 general elections. I can also confirm that this review is continuing as I speak, to determine whether there is any tangible evidence of wrongdoing under the Canada Elections Act.

This work is being carried out impartially and independently from the government of the day, the public service, and even the Chief Electoral Officer.

I note that the outcome of this work will allow me to determine whether the allegations have merit under our Act. They will not enable me to draw conclusions about the validity of election results overall or in a particular riding.

For reasons of confidentiality, I will not be able to provide further details regarding the ongoing review, complaints, or any other information received by my office. As with any investigative body, confidentiality is essential to protect the presumption of innocence and, to avoid compromising the integrity of our work.

I would, however, invite anyone who has tangible information about potential wrongdoing under the Canada Elections Act, including any attempt at foreign interference in a federal election, to contact my office.

I would be pleased to answer your questions.

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