July 20, 2024
Foreign money can still skew our federal election, critics warn
That the Trudeau government doesn’t want to close off the foreign-funding loophole entirely is not surprising.
That the Trudeau government doesn’t want to close off the foreign-funding loophole entirely is not surprising.

The new Elections Modernization Act leaves some significant loopholes that could allow foreign money to continue to materially influence Canadian elections, critics warn.

Recent amendments to the Canada Elections Act (Bill C-76) states that political advocacy groups — officially known as “third parties” — that register to be involved in an election campaign can still accept money from foreign sources, but those foreign funds must not be used for partisan purposes.

It’s a bit like having a smoking section on an airplane. It’s impossible to prevent the smoke — or in this case the foreign money — from polluting the purity of the atmosphere.

“The idea that a registered third party in Canada can receive any foreign funding for any purpose is still a ridiculous loophole that we need to close,” said Conservative Senator Linda Frum, who was reached in Toronto and tried through her Bill S-239, the Eliminating Foreign Funding in Elections Act, as well as amendments to have those and other loopholes closed.

“You can have an office and staff members, you can have a travel budget that’s all being funded by money from foreign sources to offset costs a third party might otherwise have to pay for, leaving them more money to spend on partisan activities,” points out Frum.

“So the obvious solution to this is to say no foreign funding of third parties period, for any activity, not just partisan activities and not just election activity but any activity. That would close the loophole completely and they chose not to do that,” she says of the federal Liberal government.

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