Does U.S. corporate money count as foreign interference in Canada?
Last month the Government of Canada approved a new inquiry into foreign interference in recent Canadian elections. The Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions is headed by the Honourable Marie-Josée Hogue of the Quebec Court of Appeal.
But some have taken note of the inquiry’s mandate, which is to, “examine and assess interference by China, Russia and other foreign states or nonstate actors, including any potential impacts, to confirm the integrity of, and any impacts on, the 43rd and 44th federal general elections at the national and electoral district levels.”
Wait, what? Nonstate actors?
Does that include U.S.-owned oil companies?
Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig thinks so. “The current public inquiry into election interference should look into foreign-owned oil companies seeking to influence our elections, despite Canadian election laws specifically banning such action,” she says.
“The fact that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ (CAPP) board is heavily dominated by foreign-owned companies didn’t stop CAPP from making a concerted effort to determine the outcome of the 2019 Canadian election — and in some devious ways. Its goal was clear: replacing the Trudeau government with the more oil-friendly Conservatives.
“This was explicit at a closed-door retreat CAPP held at the luxurious Azuridge Estate Hotel in the foothills of the Rockies in April 2019. Topics on the retreat’s confidential agenda — which was leaked to the press — included using front groups to make the pro-oil case, silencing environmental groups by suing them and getting more government support for pipelines (that is, more than the billions Ottawa was already spending on the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion).”
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While many might cringe at the prospect of engaging in an exercise that seems to be just another venue to demonize Russia and China, it could be an opportunity to educate Canadians about U.S. corporate interference in Canadian elections.
- Read “Inquiry should expose foreign oil’s meddling in our elections,” by Linda McQuaig, published by The Toronto Star on October 5, 2023