Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion said Monday he is very concerned about possible Russian hacking, following US accusations against the Kremlin.
The nation’s top diplomat did not comment on the specific US allegations, but said he is “very concerned” about the possibility of Canada becoming the next target of Russian cyber attacks, and called for a “safe and free cyberspace.”
Dion, however, offered no evidence of a specific threat.
His comments follow Washington’s accusations that the Kremlin had tried to interfere in the 20016 White House race through cyber attacks on American political institutions, which Russia has rejected.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government is reviewing its cyber capabilities to protect critical systems, such as banking, noting that “there have been incidents in Canada in the past where systems have been breached.”
“Canadians per capita are online more than any other population group in the world,” he said. “So this is important to Canadians.”
Canada’s ties with Russia became strained during the previous administration, with Ottawa criticizing the Kremlin over its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its annexation of Crimea.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has kept up those criticisms since taking office last year, but is also seeking to re-engage with estranged Russia, including cooperation with Russia in the Arctic.
A Canada-Russia meeting on the Arctic is scheduled for November.