Edmonton Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Cooper wants Elections Canada to investigate foreign interference in the 2015 federal election.
Referring to a report released this week, Cooper specifically wants to know if the leftist Tides Foundation broke Canadian law by inserting itself into the election by supporting Liberal Party candidates through direct financing of their campaigns.
The report, entitled Elections Canada Complaint Regarding Foreign Influence in the 2015 Canadian Election, says that left-wing third parties — dominated by the Tides Foundation — worked to defeat the Conservative government of Stephen Harper because it was perceived as unfriendly to their environmentalist agenda. Upwards of $6 million was funneled into 29 campaigns with the goal of defeating Conservative candidates.
“We hear so much about how the Russians are supposed to have interfered in the American presidential election,” Cooper told The Daily Caller Thursday, “but the situation in Canada is far worse. Here we have allegations of foreign interests directly buying ads and working to defeat Conservative candidates.”
Cooper has written a letter to the Elections Canada Commissioner Yvette Cote that requests a full investigation into the participation of third parties in the federal election and whether they violated the Canada Elections Act.
The Canada Elections Act 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.
Cooper says it is outrageous how the left-wing American groups are “advertising their efforts” in defeating the Harper government. “They are frankly shameless about their success in electing candidates that were in agreement with their agenda.”
Cooper is spot-on in his analysis. The 2015 annual report of the Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) — home base for Leadnow founder Ben Brandzel — stated: “We ended the year with … a Canadian campaign that moved the needle during the national election, contributing greatly to the ousting of the conservative Harper government.”
Again, in December 2015, Leadnow, a group that is said to be the front organization for U.S. money, issued a report entitled Defeating Harper that specifically discusses its success in influencing the Oct. 19 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 percent of the time.”
Cooper says “I’ll guess we’ll never know” exactly what impact the foreign money may have had on the outcome of the election or if Justin Trudeau would have otherwise been elected as prime minister. But he says that’s hardly the point.
“In a Canadian election, Canadians should decide what the outcome is. It appears that didn’t happen in 2015,” says Cooper.