National Newswatch

The unanswered question at the heart of David Johnston’s foreign interference report

May 26 2023 — Alex Boutilier — David Johnston says his decision to recommend against a public inquiry into foreign interference was based on “unprecedented” access to raw intelligence, Canadian national security officials and their political masters. But virtually everyone asked to accept Johnston’s findings will not – and cannot – ever know exactly what evidence Johnston based that recommendation on. This […]

Han Dong did not advocate for two Michaels’ continued detention, Johnston says

May 23 2023 — Alex Boutilier — Former Liberal MP Han Dong spoke about the detention of the “two Michaels” with an official from the Chinese government but did not suggest their imprisonment should be extended according to a highly-anticipated report on foreign interference in Canada. Former governor general David Johnston, who recommended against a public inquiry into foreign interference Tuesday, confirmed […]

Beijing is targeting MPs, but not with threats of ‘physical harm’: CSIS

May 12 2023 — Alex Boutilier — The Chinese government is targeting Canadian elected officials but has not yet threatened “physical harm” against MPs or their families, Canada’s domestic spy agency says. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told Global News that the agency is aware that the Chinese Communist Party is targeting “elected officials from all parties, and all levels of […]

Liberals try to delay fight over privacy rules for political parties

May 8 2023 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberal Party’s lawyers are trying to delay a judicial fight over whether federal political parties must follow basic privacy rules with Canadian voters’ data, Global News has learned. The Liberal Party’s lawyers are seeking to adjourn a judicial review over the B.C. privacy watchdog’s order that federal parties must adhere to provincial privacy rules. […]

Trudeau government says privacy rules shouldn’t apply to federal parties

May 3 2023 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberal government is working to enshrine in law federal political parties’ ability to gather, store and exploit sensitive information about Canadian voters without oversight or rules. The Liberals’ budget bill, introduced in April, allows parties to “collect, use, disclose, retain and dispose” of Canadians’ personal information as long as they follow their own self-policed […]

Canada’s political parties are exempt from privacy laws. Voters say that needs to end

Apr 25 2023 — Alex Boutilier — As federal parties battle in court to avoid privacy rules for voter data, an overwhelming majority of Canadians want more oversight according to recent polling for Elections Canada. There are virtually no rules and zero oversight into how Canada’s federal political parties collect, store and exploit Canadian voters’ personal information – an increasingly important tool […]

Liberal Party of Canada fights privacy rules for parties as government mulls legislation

Apr 13 2023 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberal government thinks the data federal political parties collect on Canadians should be subject to privacy laws, while the Liberal Party is in court actively arguing against such safeguards. Federal political parties are exempt from federal privacy rules, meaning they can collect, store and exploit personal information gleaned from Canadian voters with virtually no […]

Canada to back Biden administration’s limits on ‘mercenary’ spyware tools

Mar 30 2023 — Alex Boutilier — The Canadian government is prepared to support a U.S. effort to restrict the use of powerful commercial spyware that is used to surveil activists, journalists and dissidents, according to a White House document. While the two governments maintain their own sophisticated spying programs, the Biden administration has recently signalled growing concern with private market surveillance […]

Iran spying: Canadian firm’s axed 2019 deal raises questions about working with regime

Jan 16 2023 — Alex Boutilier — A small Canadian telecom service firm is taking issue with a tech watchdog’s report that it discussed working with an alleged front company to help Iranian officials spy on civilians. Citizen Lab, the Toronto-based digital and human rights organization, alleged in a Monday report that Port Coquitlam, B.C.-based PortaOne was involved in 2019 discussions to […]

Chinese interference: What government documents tell us about election meddling

Dec 16 2022 — Alex Boutilier — Government documents released earlier this week confirm that the Privy Council Office, the nerve centre of the federal bureaucracy which supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had signs of Beijing’s alleged attempts to interfere with the 2019 general election. But the heavily censored documents do not make clear where PCO obtained that intelligence, who precisely was […]

Canadian officials knew for years existing laws didn’t curb foreign influence

Dec 2 2022 — Alex Boutilier — Canadian officials have known for years that the country’s existing laws did not cover foreign governments’ interference in domestic politics, documents reviewed by Global News suggest. The documents were unearthed just as Canada’s public safety minister said the government was looking at ways to beef up its defence against foreign influence in domestic affairs. December […]

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