Canada’s foreign minister warned Friday that outside interference in the country’s upcoming parliamentary election was “very likely”.
“We are very concerned. Our judgement is that interference is very likely and we think there have probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy,” Chrystia Freeland said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in northern France, she added: “What we are seeing in many liberal democracies, the effort is not so much to secure a particular outcome in an election.
“The effort is to make our societies more polarised and make us, as citizens of democracies, more cynical about democracy and that it can work.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party are seeking re-election in national polls due by October.
Foreign interference and cyber defence are on the agenda of the G7 meeting in Dinard, which brings together ministers from the world’s Western democracies.
“We know that states like Russia have got a very active, planned thought-through strategy to interfere in democratic processes in Western countries and sow dissension and chaos wherever they can,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday.
Speaking as he launched an initiative to defend media freedom with Freeland, he referred to interference in elections in the United States and Ukraine, as well as hacking attacks on the British and German parliaments.
“One of the discussions that we will be having this afternoon is what we need to do to make the price of trying to interfere in our democratic processes too high,” he added.
“At the moment we don’t have that deterrence strategy.”