Posted on: March 22, 2023 Posted by: ACCT Foundation Comments: 0

ACCT is deeply concerned by the impact on the Chinese Canadian community by recent widespread allegations of foreign interference in our electoral process. Recognizing the inflammatory aspect to these allegations, especially in an increasingly tense environment resulting in the alarming rise of anti-Asian racism in parts of our society, we ask all our political and civic society leaders to exercise care to not generate fear mongering or to not engage in gaslighting this issue.

Government institutions charged with protecting our electoral processes are an integral part of our democratic society and having made our home and built our lives on these native lands, we recognize we too have a role to play in safeguarding these institutions. Staffed by professionals, we must ensure they have the resources and commitment to fulfill their assigned mandate without fear or favour. In return, we expect them to carry out their work within the laws and regulations governing our society. In particular, we expect them to perform in such a manner that respects and protects our individual rights as enshrined in our Charter, at all times.

We also call on our government to inform us in a clear, concise and precise manner, the threats that are currently challenging our way of life and that threaten our democratic institutions. We make this call so that we are able to make informed decisions on these and similar issues, dialogue that does not fall into the realm of rumours, suspicions and indeed, falsehood. We recognize there are always unknowns with these issues and we believe the Canadian population can deal with such uncertainties.

We are troubled that the current dialogue arose from leaks from unknown sources and spread through innuendo. As a result this issue is now highly sensationalized and reputational and physical harm amongst those within the Chinese Canadian community is a real possibility. Our discourse must always be evidence-based, not just conjectures.

We therefore call for a national dialogue of the difference between influence activities as opposed to interference activities in relation to our election process. To our mind, influence activities are what we would typically see in any election season. Election campaigns, advertisements, and campaigns to sign up support for a candidate are normal and acceptable practice. Interference activities, whether by internal or external actors, on the other hand, prevents an election process from being carried out properly, and we submit is not appropriate and to our understanding against the law. Therefore we ask our government institutions to investigate and prosecute fully all such instances of election interference.

Finally, we ask those who have made allegations of foreign interference to provide the evidence they relied on in making such allegations to the proper authorities and we encourage our media reporting this issue to carefully weigh whether the information they have in their possession support the allegation of interference or whether the information they have demonstrates influence operations during an election campaign in Canada.