New Report Alleges Foreign Influence on Canada's 2015 Federal Election
Foreign money funnelled towards Canadian political advocacy groups affected the outcome of the 2015 federal election, according to a document filed last week with Elections Canada and obtained exclusively by the Herald.
The 36-page report entitled: Elections Canada Complaint Regarding Foreign Influence in the 2015 Canadian Election, alleges third parties worked with each other, which may have bypassed election spending limits — all of which appears to be in contravention of the Canada Elections Act.
The Canada Elections Act states that “a third party shall not circumvent, or attempt to circumvent, a limit set out . . . in any manner, including by splitting itself into two or more third parties for the purpose of circumventing the limit or acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined election advertising expenses exceed the limit.”
“Electoral outcomes were influenced,” alleges the report.
The Canada Elections Act also states: “No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate” unless the person is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
“Yet the outcome of the 2015 election was skewed by money from wealthy foreigners,” alleges the complaint, submitted by Canada Decides, a registered society with three listed directors — including Joan Crockatt, a former Conservative MP for Calgary Centre, who lost her seat to Liberal Kent Hehr, now the MP for the once long-held Tory riding and the Minister of Veterans Affairs. The other two directors include Chad Hallman, a University of Toronto political science student.
The number of third parties registered during the 2015 general election more than doubled, to 114 compared with 55, in the 2011 election.
In total, the 114 third parties spent $6 million and many of those third parties were funded by California-and New York-based Tides Foundation — which is known in Canada for holding numerous anti-Canadian oil campaigns.
In 2015, Tides Foundation donated $1.5 million of U.S. money to Canadian third parties in the election year, according to the report.
Crockatt’s seat was one of the 29 targeted by an organization called Leadnow through its “largest ever campaign” called Vote Together. The complaint by Canada Decides alleges that foreign money “spawned” Leadnow and helped fund an elaborate campaign to oust the ruling Conservative Party.
Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt says Canadians should be concerned about any kind of foreign involvement in our elections.
“The whole concept and idea of foreign influence in an election is an important issue and is something that Canadians should not tolerate,” Bratt said Monday.
Tides Foundation and Leadnow representatives did not return repeated phone calls and emails from the Herald to respond to concerns raised by Canada Decides.
A December 2015 Leadnow report, Defeating Harper, discusses how effective its campaign was in the 2015 general election. “The Conservatives were defeated in 25 out of 29 ridings, and . . . in the seats the Conservatives lost, our recommended candidate was the winner 96 per cent of the time.”