(Quebec) There was no foreign interference during the Quebec elections of 2022, Prime Minister François Legault suggested Thursday in Quebec.
Élections Québec also indicates that it has not noted anything that would be similar to foreign intervention in the electoral campaign.
Mr. Legault’s statement comes in the context of shocking revelations in Ottawa about potential interference by China in the last two federal election campaigns.
The prime minister also said he and members of his cabinet had gotten rid of TikTok, a Chinese app currently at the center of a controversy over data collection.
Asked during a press scrum whether he had been assured of the absence of foreign interference during the last election campaign, Mr. Legault was succinct.
“Me, I have no indication that there would have been interference,” he replied, at the end of a long interview in the afternoon with the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand. , at City Hall.
However, he did not say where he got his information or whether his government had carried out any checks.
Elections Quebec wants to be reassuring
“Nothing leads us to believe that there was illegal political financing from abroad during the last provincial elections,” said Élections Québec spokesperson Julie St-Arnaud-Drolet.
It is this independent organization that guarantees the integrity, transparency and reliability of the Québec electoral process.
In an interview with The Canadian Press in the evening, however, she was unable to specify whether complaints had been filed in connection with a possible threat or interference from a foreign power.
However, no intrusion into Elections Quebec’s computer systems has been identified, nor a concerted effort by a foreign state to discredit and undermine Quebec’s electoral process, she said.
“In light of the information currently available, there is nothing to suggest that there was a structured campaign of disinformation about the electoral process from abroad during the last elections. »
In Ottawa, the office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections is examining a total of 158 complaints received about “10 situations” in connection with the 2019 general election and 16 complaints about “13 situations” in connection with those of 2021, according to what we were able to learn on Thursday.
“It’s extraordinarily worrying,” says Duhaime
“I was flabbergasted to learn (the revelations in Ottawa), it’s extraordinarily disturbing,” commented the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Éric Duhaime, at a press conference Thursday morning in Quebec.
However, he added that he had not heard of any intervention by the Chinese government in the Quebec ballot last fall.
“I have no proof that in Quebec, the Chinese authorities would have been interested in our elections. »
It is a series of reports from the Global television network and the daily The Globe and Mail which revealed attempts by communist China during the last two election campaigns.
These allegations come from anonymous sources in Canadian security agencies. They suggest that the Chinese power had an interest in re-electing Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, at the expense of the Conservative Party. To achieve its ends, Beijing would therefore have mobilized the Chinese consulates in order to encourage the Chinese-Canadian communities to go and vote for the Liberal Party.
In recent months, pressure has mounted on Justin Trudeau’s government to provide more information on how Ottawa is responding to threats posed by foreign interference.