Evidence of meeting #149 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was election.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon
André Boucher  Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Communications Security Establishment

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

We're continuing our discussions with representatives of digital platforms to see what they could do here in Canada before the next federal election. My office has meetings scheduled for next week. I hope that they'll be more open to applying in Canada the election protection measures that they implemented in other countries. I think that Canadians deserve the same treatment as other people around the world.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you, Ms. Gould.

Do I have any time left, Mr. Chair?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

You have a minute and a half.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Okay. I'll take it.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Nathan wants it.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

No, it's my turn. I'm very territorial.

Minister Gould, a reference was made earlier to your confidence in the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Can you elaborate on this?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

I have a great deal of confidence in the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada with regard to the entire administration of federal elections. Canadians can be very proud of this organization, which I believe is the best in the world. A number of countries draw inspiration from the organization of Canadian elections on a technical level. I have a great deal of confidence in the people in this organization, and I'm very proud of their work. They're very professional and they take their responsibilities very seriously.

Canadians have confidence in the electoral process and in the election results, which is the most important thing.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you, Ms. Gould.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Thank you, Ms. Lapointe.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Thank you.

For one last intervention, we have Ms. Kusie, for five minutes.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Minister, I'll go back to the critical election incident public protocol. How does the team make their decision on whether or not to inform the public as to a threat within the election?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

The decision to inform the public will be based on their assessment that will be derived from consensus as to whether the incident compromises a free and fair election. We have made this bar significantly high, because if there were a public announcement, that would obviously be of significance to the Canadian population. Therefore, it's really important that the bar be set very high.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

What criteria are they using, please?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

What we have established is a free and fair election—

April 11th, 2019 / 12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

How do you determine a free and fair election?

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

They will make that assessment based on the information they have.

One thing I think is important to note is that this will be very context-driven and context-specific, because it could be that an incident that occurred in another country that we may use as an example doesn't have the same kind of impact here in Canada. What's important is for them to make that decision based on the information that our security agencies are providing them.

One thing I would note with regard to the protocol is that when they decide to make that public, they will be advising the CEO of Elections Canada, as well as the leaders of the political parties. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that both the leaders and a number of their senior campaign advisers will be given security clearances, they will be in regular contact with our security agencies to give them an update of what's going on during and in the lead-up to the campaign.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

I appreciate this. I feel as though we're just getting information we received previously. I wish there were more specifics and more information. Will the panel meet on a consistent basis or only on the occasion of an incident?

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

The panel will receive regular briefings.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Will they be meeting regularly to evaluate the briefings?

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

They will receive regular briefings, and it will be up to them to determine how they deal with that information.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Again, that's not very specific.

Will political parties be notified if the panel is convening?

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Not necessarily; only if they feel they will need to make something public. However, the political parties will receive regular briefings from the security agencies.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Which individuals will decide whether or not to bring critical threats to the attention of the panel?

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

That will be left up to our very capable security agencies.

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

If the parties disagree with the decision to bring an incident to the panel, is there a means to appeal the decision?