Foreign Interference

I saw a news report about foreign interference in the Canadian federal election. Nobody was making a big fuss about it. Maybe that is because it was American interference.

If the situation was reversed, there would have been howls south of the border. Apparently it is different though when it is Americans who are doing the interfering.

Former US president Barack Obama has publicly endorsed his preference for Prime Minister of Canada. This is unprecedented in Canadian history, thought not new for Obama. In the last French presidential election, he tweeted his support of Emmanuel Macron.

Under Obama’s watch the Russian government interfered in the last American presidential election. He was upset about that at the time, but didn’t seem to have learned the logical lesson.  Whether Russian disinformation actually changed anyone’s voting intentions is a question that I have yet to see answered. But it is a concern.

Canadians will vote on Monday, after what one party leader has described as the dirtiest campaign ever. (Of course, his party has always told the truth, and if you don’t see it that way then you have been duped by the evil ones.) To me it seems the parties have gotten their message out and their policies explained, even if they seem to prefer wallowing in the mud and repeating half-truths and lies.

As for foreign interference, does anyone think it makes a difference? There may be people swayed by the endorsement of a former US president. There may be just as many who resent his thoughts and change their votes to a different party. I doubt if pollsters and political scientists have studied that sort of thing – data would be fairly scarce, I would think.

There has been no suggestion of a foreign government showing favor to one party or another. Maybe our elections aren’t important enough for anyone to bother. Or maybe they think Canadians are too smart to be taken in by disinformation.

As someone who cannot ever be president again, maybe Obama thinks it is okay to offer his opinion on another country’s elections. Certainly, it would be inappropriate if he had done so while still in office.

Is it inappropriate now? You be the judge. What if it was your country?

One comment

  1. Stephen Martin · · Reply

    Hmmm…we allow our former Prime Minister’s to continue to act as high profile political supporters…although typically that stays in our country and usually they lend support to the party that they were leading (not always). I’m not bothered by it, as it is so transparent (as in obvious) that it doesn’t seem like “influence” to me.

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