In a letter submitted to the Government of Canada on May 10, 2019, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) formally extended its support for the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force’s mandate is to investigate foreign-funded activists’ influence on Canada’s electoral processes. The Task Force will address threats to Canada’s democratic process and research misleading campaigns that could put Canadians’ futures at risk.
Several foreign-funded anti-industry groups have claimed to influence Canadian elections, both federally and provincially. In an article, The Canadian Press alleges United States-based organizations such as the Tides Foundation donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to affect the outcome of the 2015 federal election. (Other media reports allege donations have been in the millions). As well, other activist groups have taken credit for influencing the 2017 British Columbia provincial election.
“All Canadians should be aware and alarmed by the actions of activist groups to step on our constitutional rights and wrench away control of our collective future as Canadians,” says Tim McMillan, CAPP president and CEO. “The Task Force is standing up for the right of every Canadian to choose their own destiny, and political and economic futures.”
“Canadians should be aware and alarmed by the actions of activist groups to step on our constitutional rights and wrench away control of our collective future as Canadians.”Tim McMillan, CAPP
Members of the task force will be drawn from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Communications Security Establishment. The Task Force will address covert, clandestine, and criminal interfering with or influencing electoral processes in Canada, leading up to the 2019 federal election.
The proposed initiative’s specific attention to the spread of misinformation through digital platforms is of particular interest to CAPP’s membership and to the oil and natural gas industry. CAPP believes such International interference has done material harm to rural economies in Canada, including Indigenous economies, through the quashing or delay of important projects. It has also negatively impacted Canada’s investment environment, resulting in capital flight, which will have long-term negative effects for the country.
“Canada’s oil and natural gas sector applauds the federal government’s actions to investigate foreign influence on our elections and political processes,” McMillan says. “CAPP supports the Task Force’s mandate to put a stop to foreign meddling in our economic future.”