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Canada expects foreign meddling in October election, Chrystia Freeland says

Canada expects foreign meddling in October election, Chrystia Freeland says


Canadian Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday it was likely that foreign actors would meddle in the country’s October elections, and her British counterpart said a deterrent to stop countries like Russia from interfering was critical.

U.S. intelligence officials and the governments of some European Union countries have accused Russia of interfering in their elections in recent years, allegations strongly denied by Moscow.

When asked whether she was worried Russia would interfere in the election, Freeland said she was “very concerned.”

“Our judgment is that interference is very likely and we think there have probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy,” she said, speaking at a media freedom event on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers meeting in France.

Freeland said such attempts were not aimed at securing a particular outcome in a national elections, but to polarize Western societies.

The foreign ministers of the G7 nations — the U.S., France, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy and Canada — as well as the European Union are meeting in Dinard, Brittany, where they are expected later to agree on common norms that would seek to prevent foreign powers from destabilizing democratic nations.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was imperative for liberal democracies to tackle interference by Russia and others.

“We know that states like Russia have got a very active, planned, thought-through strategy to interfere in democratic processes in Western countries and [to sow] dissension and chaos wherever they can,” Hunt said.

“We are getting much better at fending off these attacks when they happen. What we don’t do at the moment is deter them from happening in the first place.”

He said the discussions at the G7 on Friday would be aimed at finding a deterrence strategy that imposed a high price for meddling with democratic processes.



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Election fact-checker: Leaders debate edition

Election fact-checker: Leaders debate edition


Albertans tuned in to watch Rachel Notley, Jason Kenney, David Khan and Stephen Mandel debate the issues Thursday evening. 

CBC News examined claims made by the party leaders during the debate and all four had misleading claims. 

Comments made by politicians and the parties online are ranked as true, false or muddy in CBC News fact-checker articles.

  • Find out how Alberta’s political parties are faring in our Poll Tracker
  • VOTE COMPASS | Find out how your views on campaign issues line up with the platforms of Alberta’s major parties

The muddy moments

David Khan, Liberal Party

“The UCP and the Alberta Party have talked about privatizing health care.”

Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel: “No, we haven’t!”

Khan: “Yes, Mr. Clark was on QR 77 last week suggesting that your party would look at privatizing some parts of the health care system.”

Mandel: “No, we didn’t. I don’t know where you heard that from?!”

Ranking:Muddy

Here’s why: The health-care portion of the Alberta Party platformdoesn’t mention privatization, or private delivery of services. In fact, the party wants to increase health benefits by adding an annual dental care check up for children ages 12 and under.

Here’s the actual exchange between a radio talk-show host and former Alberta Party MLA Greg Clark, during a March 21 interview:

Host: “We already have lots of private care, ways to pay privately to get services done in the health world. Your view on, can we go a little farther that way? Do we have to pull back? How do we use the private health care to help the public system?”

Clark: “You know, I do think we need to start thinking about some of that. I won’t say a definitive no. I will say the Alberta Party is totally committed to a public health-care system. We need to make sure we maintain equal access and have a focus on quality and access, but we also need to start looking at creative ways of reducing costs.”


Stephen Mandel, Alberta Party 

“The reality is we don’t have enough pipelines to send our oil south. We don’t have any pipelines to send it west or east. Part of that [was the] responsibility of Mr. Kenney and his government. When he was there, they could have pushed Northern Gateway through, but he didn’t do that.”

Ranking: Muddy

Here’s why: Stephen Harper’s federal Conservative government, which included Kenney, signed off on the Northern Gateway pipeline. But Ottawa’s approval was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2016, and the Liberal government did not appeal the court decision.


Jason Kenney, UCP

On wait times and Alberta’s healthcare: “And that’s with a government that is spending more, with the most expensive system in Canada.”

Ranking: Muddy

Here’s why: Statistics from 2018 show that Alberta does spend more per person than any other province. However, the territories certainly have the most expensive health-care systems in Canada. For example, health-care costs per person in the Northwest Territories were more than double that of per-person costs in Alberta in 2018, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.


Rachel Notley, NDP 

“Here’s the thing: pipelines, pipelines, pipelines. I’ve just now said the word two more times than Mr. Kenney did when he was a cabinet minister.”

Ranking: Muddy

Here’s why: It is impossible to check every speaking engagement and media scrum over Kenney’s nearly 20-year federal career. Technically, Kenney said the word “pipeline” three times in the House of Commons, although he was an opposition MP and not a cabinet minister at the time. Kenney also mentioned the Northern Gateway pipeline by name in the House of Commons. While he was federal employment minister in 2014, he said “pipeline” several times when speaking to CBC about the impact of falling oil prices.

Here are the two Hansard records of when he mentioned the word “pipeline” for a total of three times in Ottawa (with transcripts):

UCP Leader Jason Kenney, NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Liberal Leader David Khan and Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel participated in the Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton Thursday. (CBC)

The facts

Jason Kenney, UCP

“We need to focus on things like the huge decline in math scores for Alberta students.”

Ranking: True

Here’s why: In 2018, one-third of Alberta Grade 9 students failed the provincial exams for math. An international test taken by Alberta Grade 4 students in 2015 showed math scores had been slipping over 10 years.


Rachel Notley, NDP

“Mr. Kenney’s caucus voted against Bill 24 [An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances] when we brought it in.”

Ranking: True

Here’s why: The NDP’s Bill 24 prevented teachers from outing students who join a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at school. When the bill passed in November 2017, the 23 MLAs who voted against it were from the UCP caucus. One UCP MLA, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, was absent from the vote. Another, Leela Aheer, abstained.


David Khan, Liberal Party

“There has been money for class-size reductions for years, and we do not know where it has gone.”

Ranking: True

Here’s why: An auditor general’s report, delivered in 2018, showed that Alberta Education has spent billions of dollars over 13 years to try and reduce class sizes, without actually reducing class sizes. The auditor general also found that the government wasn’t tracking how that money was spent within school districts.  


Stephen Mandel, Alberta Party

“We have to be concerned about bigotry and intolerance. That’s something nobody can tolerate anywhere. And that seems to be something that is following Mr. Kenney’s party on an ongoing basis.”

Ranking: True

Here’s why: Over the past several weeks, there have been high-profile controversies involving UCP candidates making sexist, homophobic, or racist remarks. Two of those candidates, Caylan Ford and Eva Kiryakos, have since resigned. Mark Smith, the candidate for Drayton Valley-Devon, has apologized for remarks he made about homosexual relationships.

As part of an ongoing effort to hold Alberta’s political leaders and political parties accountable, CBC News will fact-check comments made by politicians and photos posted online at various times along the campaign trail.  

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A voter's guide to climate change and the federal election

A voter’s guide to climate change and the federal election


The latest federal climate change report shows that Canada is warming faster than the global average which could mean more wildfires and more extreme weather.

With a federal election mere months away, what should Canadians demand from politicians to tackle this crisis?

Isabelle Turcotte, director of federal policy at the Pembina Institute environmental think-tank, spoke with On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko to offer her thoughts on what Canadians should look for when deciding who to vote for.

What sort of checklist should voters have when they’re trying to evaluate their political representatives?

Voters should look for strong climate platforms and leaders who will be dedicated to tackling this issue with concrete action and concrete policies that will reduce our emissions and transform every sector of our economy.

How does the average voter know what is a concrete policy?

Let’s get all of our leadership hopefuls on the record saying that they are committed to meeting our Paris Agreement target and that they are also committed to increasing that target because we know that that target is not quite enough

Look for policies that reduce emissions in the transport sector. Concrete things like increasing electric vehicles on the road. Look for policies that put more renewable energy on the grid, for policies that help our industrial sector decarbonize.

Really concrete things that make our economic sectors more efficient and more economically competitive.

Well, you can have concrete evidence for a government that’s in power, but what about parties that are out of government?

A very important element is policy certainty to make sure that those industries that are making investments in the current regulatory environment where we are putting in place our climate plans and guiding investments, that they know they can be confident that this regulatory environment will be sustained and dialed up because we know we need to do more.

So seeing some policy alignment between what’s being proposed is really valuable — between what’s being proposed by leadership hopefuls and what exists is a good indicator.  

Despite climate change being an issue that’s affecting all of us there are very clear partisan divides on it among provinces. Ontario and Saskatchewan are against the carbon tax vehemently. Why is this happening?

To those who oppose this measure, which we know is the lowest-cost measure to reduce our emissions, to those who oppose that approach, put forward your alternatives and let’s debate it. I think that’s what Canadians need to demand of their leaders.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Listen to the complete interview:

The latest federal climate change report shows that Canada is warming faster than the global average which could mean more wildfires and more extreme weather So, with a federal election mere months away, what should Canadians demand from politicians to tackle this crisis? 6:39



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