July 1, 2017 - No. 24

Canada at 150 Needs Renewal

The Need to Build Canada on the
New Historical Basis

Canada 150 Anti-War Picket

Make Canada a Factor for Peace, Not War and Aggression!
Saturday, July 1 -- 11:00 am 

Corner of Ouellette and Tecumseh Rd.


Make Canada a Factor for Peace, Not War and Aggression!
- Windsor Peace Coalition -

Our Home on Native Land
Indigenous Peoples Establish Gathering Place on Parliament Hill

Militarization of Canada's Ports and Promotion of
"Interoperability" with U.S. War Fleet

U.S. Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Halifax
- Tony Seed -

What Rule by Police Powers Looks Like
Speak Out Against Police State Measures
Communications Security Establishment Issues
Unacceptable Cyber Threat Assessment

- Anna Di Carlo -
Briefing of Registered Political Parties on Cyber Threats
Information on What the Cyber Threat Assessment Report Says

Canada at 150 Needs Renewal

The Need to Build Canada on the
New Historical Basis


Canada Day 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation established by the Royal Proclamation of 1867. Today, Canadians face the necessity to enact a new Constitution to replace the one used to found Canada in the conditions that prevailed in 1867. They need to provide Canada with a modern constitution that abolishes the Royal Prerogative on which the present Constitution is based. They need a constitution that vests sovereignty in the people and gets rid of the police powers which maintain privileges in lieu of rights.

A modern constitution for Canada is needed to end the colonial injustice and old arrangements suffocating the Indigenous peoples. Such a constitution must implement the principle of nation-to-nation relations. It must recognize Quebec's right to self-determination and recognize the rights of citizens and residents by virtue of being human. It must provide these rights with a guarantee and a modern political process and forms of governance where members of the polity have a say and control and practical means to hold to account those in government.

A modern Canada and constitution are needed to stop the nation-wrecking of those who have submitted the country to the decision-making power and empire-building of foreign powers and financial interests, supranational trade arrangements and U.S.-led military alliances and wars. Canada needs independence so Canadians can develop modern human relations amongst themselves and with all humanity.

Canada needs a Constitution that recognizes the rights of all human persons by virtue of being human. It requires a modern political process based on equal membership in the body politic. The renewal of the political process is required so that citizens and residents can directly decide the matters that concern them and affect their lives, solve problems and take up in earnest the humanizing of the social and natural environment.

Canada also needs an anti-war government that makes Canada a zone for peace and demands that problems in international relations are solved without violence and war.

History calls on the peoples of Canada, Quebec and the Indigenous peoples to establish modern arrangements amongst themselves based on a free and equal union of sovereign entities. The challenges are great but the present conditions beckon us all to be up to the task to build a bright future where the rights of all are guaranteed.

Let the working class constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people with a modern constitution that builds Canada on the new historical basis!

All Out to Build the New!

Haut de


Make Canada a Factor for Peace,
Not War and Aggression!

July 1 is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Canadian confederation through Royal Proclamation. On this occasion we encourage everyone to together affirm that we want Canada to be a force for peace in the present and future, not an instrument of colonial domination, war and empire as has been the case for the last 150 years.

Since 1867 successive governments, whether Liberal or Conservative, have negated the hereditary and other rights of Indigenous peoples, placed Canada's territory, resources and youth in the service of expeditionary wars, enforced colonial arrangements and participated in the attempts to suppress Soviet Russia in 1918, and in the suppression of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of India, Africa and other countries fighting for independence and liberation.

First Canada participated in the service of the British imperialists and their quest to maintain their empire. In World War II Canadians joined the world's peoples to fight fascism, occupation and militarism. Following this however Canada joined the U.S. in launching the Cold War and, under the guise of fighting communism, Canada became a willing instrument of the U.S. imperialists through the aggressive military and political alliances NATO and NORAD. This led to the suppression of the right to conscience at home and the deployment of Canada's military to serve U.S. aims abroad, beginning in Korea and most recently in Iraq and Syria as well as Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Today Canada has become so intertwined with the U.S. project for global domination that our military, natural resources and territory are designated as part and parcel of the U.S. "Homeland," which it controls and patrols through NORAD and other North American police and military arrangements. Today the U.S. is able to overtly wield its powers inside Canada against Canadians and anyone else it views as a potential threat to its striving for world domination.

Today the Prime Minister "celebrates" Canadian snipers in Iraq as they assassinate people from kilometres away under U.S. command. The Minister of Defence brags about being the "architect" of an operation led by the U.S. in Afghanistan which killed thousands. The Foreign Minister "represents" Canada abroad by openly interfering in the affairs of other countries, all the while being "proud" of her Nazi collaborator grandfather.

These people do not reflect the personality of a modern Canada but a continuation of Canada as a willing instrument of war and empire.

In Canada we have the Indigenous nations who represent the best traditions of the anti-colonial and independence struggles of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are joined by peace-loving people from all over the world. All of us want a modern Canada which upholds the best of the past and contributes to the development of all peoples, not a Canada that upholds global domination as a lofty goal.

Today, we want peaceful and fraternal relations with all nations and peoples both inside and outside of Canada's borders. On the occasion of Canada 150, the Windsor Peace Coalition encourages everyone to consider Canada's present and future and take a bold stand together to discard all those arrangements which put Canada in the position of facilitating and participating in war and aggression.

Haut de

Our Home on Native Land

Indigenous Peoples Establish Gathering Place
on Parliament Hill

Indigenous youth lit a sacred fire at the gathering place on Parliament Hill on the eve of July 1, Canada Day. They are calling on all nations to join them on July 1 in a great affirmation of their right to be. The fire will burn until the end of their ceremonies after July 1.

The fire was lit after all those who came to join the Indigenous Reoccupation linked arms and formed a wall to defend the teepee and the fasting youth from potential police attack. More people came from other areas of Parliament Hill to see the ceremony take place. Due to the outpouring of support the police were unable to stop the fire from being lit.

Throughout the day as people from all walks of life visited Parliament hundreds visited the gathering place and teepee to give their enthusiastic support to the initiative which raises the banner of Indigenous rights on the occasion of Canada 150. Hundreds stopped to photograph and have their photo taken with the banner Our Home on Native Land. Many stopped to listen attentively to the stories of those taking part in the ceremony.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the gathering place on the morning of June 30 with a huge entourage of media, photographers and security. Inside the teepee, one of the youth from Sault Ste Marie, Candace Day Neveau thanked the Prime Minister for coming and responded that, "We're going to be here, and we're not going to back down any more as Indigenous people. We are going to be constantly asserting our inherent right. Moving forward as a young leader, I'm here to say that we're going to be holding you accountable."

Tens of thousands are expected on Parliament Hill for July 1. The sacred fire will continue to burn and all are encouraged to go and show their support throughout the day.

Day One -- Gathering Place Established

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) hails the Indigenous youth from Sault Ste Marie including the Bawating Water Protectors who, despite being assaulted by police who tried to block them, succeeded in erecting their teepee on the east side of Parliament Hill at 2:00 am on June 29.

The youth were joined by members of other nations as well as Canadians and Quebeckers who steadfastly defended their action to establish a gathering place on Parliament Hill. The action started with a rally at the Human Rights Monument and a march. The people finally succeeded in establishing a beachhead inside the gates to Parliament Hill despite police attack, nine arrests and an hours-long standoff. All those arrested were released later in the night once the RCMP and Parliament Hill police backed off from their confrontation.

The establishment of the gathering place marks the beginning of four days of ceremony and fasting led by the youth affirming their sovereignty and rights. They are also rejecting the glorification of the Canadian state and its colonial relations with Indigenous peoples embodied in the $500 million Canada 150 commemorations. CPC(M-L) calls on all those who go to Parliament to visit the teepee, pay respects to the just cause of Canada's Indigenous peoples, and ensure the success of the gathering place.

Day Two -- Gathering Place Moved to North West Corner of Lawn

The gathering place and teepee established by Indigenous women and youth on Parliament Hill has now been moved onto a main area west of the big stage set up for state-organized Canada 150 events. It was relocated on the evening of June 29 following all-day negotiations with the RCMP and will remain there through July 1.

The teepee was originally placed just inside the gates to Parliament Hill on the night of June 28. It was established thanks to the determination of Indigenous women and youth and supporters to establish the Indigenous presence on the Hill. They prevailed despite state-organized violence by the police that night.

This gathering place stands as a testament to the determination to affirm the right to be of Indigenous peoples in the face of the perpetuation of colonial relations and the negation of hereditary rights by the federal government. In the name of reconciliation and righting historical wrongs, the ruling circles are intent on bringing the past into the present so as to achieve the same genocidal results.

On the occasion of Canada 150 celebrations, events across the country are rejecting the glorification of the dispossession of the Indigenous peoples. The government is spending $500 million on celebrations and many frivolous projects. But the Indigenous peoples across the country are organizing initiatives in defence of their rights. They are joined by Canadians and Quebeckers from all walks of life who are also fighting for a modern Canada which upholds peace and the dignity of labour.

Haut de


Militarization of Canada's Ports and Promotion of
"Interoperability" with U.S. War Fleet

U.S. Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Arrives in Halifax

"The U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower and two support ships are arriving today," the Halifax Examiner reported on June 28. "The Pilotage Authority says the aircraft carrier will be parked at Anchorage #1, which is just north of McNab's Island, but I've also been told that the ship will be anchored south of the island, near [Canadian Forces Base] Shearwater, so we'll see, I guess. The other ships will berth at the Dockyard," the reporter wrote.

This is how the Trudeau Liberals are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation -- with the militarization of Canada's ports and the promotion of "interoperability" with the U.S. war fleet.

From top to bottom, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USS Winston S. Churchill and the
HMCS Moncton conduct what the U.S. Navy terms a photo exercise,
on the way to Halifax, June 27, 2017.

Throughout the past 150 years, the U.S. military has developed extensive and detailed planning for the invasion and conquest of Canada. A 1924 draft stated: "Blue [U.S.] intentions are to hold in perpetuity all Crimson [Canadian] and Red [British] territories gained. The policy will be to prepare the provinces and territories of Crimson and Red to become states and territories of the Blue Union upon the declaration of peace. The Dominion government will be abolished..."[1]

These plans were codified in War Plan Red which was not a document to be confined to a drawer. In 1934, amendments to the plan were approved by the U.S. Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy authorizing the destruction of Halifax, Montreal and Quebec City by "Immediate air operations on as large a scale as practicable" and authorizing the immediate first-use of poison gas against Canadians in order to "increase our advantages and hasten the successful ending of the war."

The U.S. Army and Navy War Colleges continued working on invasion plans of Canada until at least 1939. For example, for an "Overseas Expeditionary Force to Capture Halifax from Red-Crimson Coalition" (Red Britain, Crimson Canada), was part of War Plan Red. During and after World War II, occupation has continued from within, through annexation and now "integration."

Map of War Plan Red -- click to enlarge.

As recently as 1983, the Pentagon designated Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, which combines an airfield and a naval berth for U.S. nuclear submarines, as a forward deployment base for the "defence" of the U.S. heartland. U.S. military forces carried out innumerable exercises within and outside the harbour of Halifax, including the rehearsal of the illegal mining of the harbour of Nicaragua ("Operation Minex"), which was condemned by the International Court at the Hague. Shearwater is also the base for the Rapid Reaction Force launched under the Harper regime.

The Chilean sailing ship La Esmeralda has also arrived once again in Halifax as part of the "tall ships" spectacle. In 2015, the Guardian, a newspaper published in Britain, reported that during the Pinochet years La Esmeralda was a torture prison:

"A series of human rights reports, including those by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organisation of American States, Amnesty International, the U.S. Senate and the Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission, record that in the autumn of 1973 the ship was used to detain and torture victims of the Pinochet regime, who included a British-Chilean priest, Father Michael Woodward.

"They detail how the vessel was berthed in the port of Valparaíso, following Augusto Pinochet's coup d'état. A 1986 U.S. Senate report suggested that as many as 112 people were detained, of whom 40 were women. Rape, the use of electric shocks, mock executions and beatings were reportedly used on the ship. Also on board was Woodward, who, having been tortured onshore, was taken off the vessel for treatment at a naval hospital, but died of his injuries in transit. His remains are allegedly buried in a mass grave under a road.

"Claudio Correa, a former Chilean government official who lives in London, was held on the ship with Woodward. He told the Observer that he was transferred from a military academy to La Esmeralda where specialist teams were employed to torture its occupants over several days. 'They tortured people with no sentiment,' he said. 'They were enjoying it.'

"A Facebook campaign has been set up urging people to protest against the vessel's arrival in London and other European ports. One protester called Carolita explains that its continued use 'reaffirms the Chilean navy's lack of respect for human rights and lack of remorse for actions that have been condemned around the world,' adding that 'it is unjust to expect victims to forgive and forget when the perpetrators do not express regret and remorse.'"[2]

While the Examiner aptly expressed concern about the Chilean torture ship parading as a "tall ship," the arrival of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower, which the media present as a "floating city," is presented as admirable. Lest we forget, a U.S. fleet was stationed off the Chilean coast throughout the 1973 coup d'état under the pretext of an annual exercise code-named UNITAS, in which the Canadian navy also participates.


1. Richard Preston, The Defence of the Undefended Border: Plans for War in North America, 1867-1939.

2. Tim Bousquet, "The Shipping News: Morning File, Wednesday, June 28, 2017," Halifax Examiner, June 28, 2017.

(Photos/graphics: U.S. Navy, Morning News, Zona Impacto)

Haut de


What Rule by Police Powers Looks Like

Speak Out Against Police State Measures

Demonstration against Harper government's Bill C-51 Anti-Terrorism Act in Ottawa,
March 14, 2015, one of more than 70 actions which took place that day across the country.

On June 20, the Trudeau government tabled before Parliament Bill C-59, an Act respecting national security matters. The 150-page bill proposes new draconian powers for intelligence agencies such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to enforce a police state.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (registered for electoral purposes as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada) issued a statement on June 22 which addresses the different measures and secret police powers the government seeks to legalize. It concludes that Bill C-59 is even more dangerous than the Harper-era Bill C-51 which the Trudeau Liberals have announced they will not rescind, despite the demands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

TML Weekly is providing below a link to CPC(M-L)'s statement and urges readers to inform themselves about this development. Measures in Bill C-59 include further strengthening the "disruption" and surveillance powers of CSIS, undoing the formal prohibition on CSE collecting and storing information on Canadians and giving CSE broad powers to conduct both "offensive" and "defensive" cyber attacks. According to the Liberals, those who are engaged in "activities against the constitutionally established system of government in Canada" are fair game to be targeted.

Worrisome too is the pretense of the government that these measures will be exercised under civilian control, oversight and accountability. These secret police powers are by definition above the rule of law. The Trudeau government's goal of legalizing such activities in Bill C-59 in the face of Canadians' opposition to Bill C-51 and similar laws shows that the civil power is subordinate to the police authority. This is what a police state looks like.

Read the statement of CPC(M-L): All Out to Oppose the Trudeau Government's Police State Bill C-59!

Haut de


Communications Security Establishment Issues Unacceptable Cyber Threat Assessment

Four days before Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters, was tabled in the House of Commons on June 20, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) issued its report Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process, on June 16. The Ministry of Democratic Institutions which commissioned the report, describes it as "the first threat assessment of this kind to be shared with the public." With this report, cyber threats and allegations of foreign interference in the electoral process have been officially added to the arsenal of disinformation against the striving of Canadians for empowerment.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), registered as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada for electoral purposes, goes on record to oppose the conclusions reached in the CSE report and the use of police powers to monitor elections and to interfere in what is called the democratic process which the report seeks to justify.

The orientation laid out in the report creates a scenario where the political opinions of Canadians stand to be tarnished with allegations of foreign influence. This is done by declaring that because Canada is a country tied to NATO and the G7 and the policies that serve both the military alliance and the financial oligarchy of the G7 member states, any opinion that opposes them therefore opposes Canada. These policies are a matter of concern to, and opposed by, many Canadians and their entrenchment in police security concerns cannot be accepted.

There are many such statements in the report. For instance, the report states: "To date, we have not observed nation-states using cyber capabilities with the purpose of influencing the Canadian democratic process during an election. We assess that whether this remains the case in 2019 will depend on how nation-state adversaries perceive Canada's foreign and domestic policies over the next two years, and on the spectrum of policies espoused by Canadian federal candidates in 2019."

Is the CSE suggesting that if there is a greater "spectrum" of policies in the 2019 election, the cyber threat will increase? Or, in what amounts to the same thing -- the smaller the spectrum, the lesser the threat? Given its characterization of Canada as a member of NATO and the G7, is it saying that electoral campaigns calling for Canada's withdrawal from NATO and pro-social policies not in keeping with the neo-liberal anti-social agenda of the G7 are the source of potential cyber attacks?

The CSE also states "cyber threats and influence operations are often successful because they take advantage of deeply rooted human behaviours and social patterns, and are not merely technological vulnerabilities. Defending Canada's democratic process against cyber threats and related influence operations requires addressing both the technical and social elements of the problem."

This leads to a question that is troubling to Canadians who are concerned about the increasing use of surveillance and police powers against their right to conscience, freedom of association and freedom of speech, as well as privacy rights and right to live in peace, amongst others. What precisely is the CSE referring to when it expresses concern about "deeply rooted human behaviours and social patterns?" And what precisely does it mean to "address social elements of the problem."

CPC(M-L) participates in elections and on a daily basis it works to involve Canadians in political affairs. It takes ideo-political stands, such as its demand for withdrawal from NATO, that would appear to fall into the category of what the CSE suggests are views held by "adversaries of the Canadian democratic process."

The CSE report states that it is addressing the threat to Canada's democratic process. However, it is not at all clear what it means by Canada's democratic process or why it thinks it is under threat. By democratic process is surely meant the right of the people of a country to determine their own affairs, to decide for themselves what government they want and the domestic and foreign policies they wish their country to pursue. This includes considerations such as Canada's membership in NATO and the government's adherence to the neo-liberal, anti-social policies of the G7.

Is the CSE report saying that Canada is a member of the G7 and a member of NATO by virtue of some immutable characteristic, like Canada's position in the North American continent, and not by virtue of the political choice of current and past governments? It seems to be saying that because Canada is a member of the G7 and a member of NATO with a given set of allies, what is good for these alliances is what is good for the Canadian people and the CSE must protect this good. The end result is that Canadians have to abide by this if they are not to be considered "adversaries."

The way the report is written, it follows that those who are opposed to Canada's membership in NATO, those who are opposed to the neo-liberal policies which distinguish the governments of the member nation-states of the G7, stand to be the targets of suspicion for conducting "influence operations" opposed to the interests of Canada.

If this is indeed what the CSE is saying then it is of concern not just to CPC(M-L) and any political party or candidate who advocates that NATO be dismantled and that G7 is no good for Canada. It is a matter of concern for all Canadians.

The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is covering up what it is really up to with this cyber threats agenda. At a press briefing on the CSE report, the Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould managed to shed no light on the issue whatsoever. "We take cyber threats to our democracy very seriously, and today is a critical step in defending our democracy from those who would threaten us," she said. In a related press release, the Ministry states that it will build "a culture of citizen literacy to give people the tools, skills and opportunities they need to fully participate in our democratic life." This seems to suggest that good cyber security knowledge is central to the exercising of democratic rights.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan added that "The CSE has applied their unique expertise to produce this thorough and insightful assessment of the threats to our democratic institutions. I encourage all Canadians to read and follow CSE's advice on basic cyber practices as there are many simple steps that can benefit us all."

CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to inform themselves about this report and speak out against the unacceptable conclusions it draws and against the activity of the Trudeau government to permit the security establishment to interfere in the electoral process in the name of high ideals.

Haut de


Briefing of Registered Political Parties
on Cyber Threats

On June 20, the Privy Council of the Government of Canada convoked a meeting of registered political parties advising that it wished to have the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) brief them on "best practices in cyber security." Twelve of the 16 federally registered political parties were present, including the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). The invitation to the meeting was issued just days before the CSE released its report entitled "Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process."

The meeting was addressed by Scott Jones, Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Technology Security) who was accompanied by two CSE staff members. He presented a brief overview of the contents of the CSE's cyber threat assessment, along with very well-known and elementary advice related to cyber security, such as "use different passwords for different accounts" and "back up your data in case you are hit by ransom-ware."

During the meeting, participants raised several questions and comments challenging the CSE report and its conception of the danger posed to the democratic process. One party pointed out that all of the cyber threat objectives described by the CSE are typically carried out by the competing political parties themselves, not by foreign adversaries. For example, to suggest that discrediting electoral opponents and the electoral process itself falls into the category of activities carried out by foreign agents is ludicrous to say the least.

It was also pointed out that as far as the Canadian experience goes, the 2011 Robocall Scandal is notably absent from the CSE's report. In that instance, the Conservative Party's Constituency Information Management System was used to make robocalls telling non-Conservative voters to go to the wrong polling stations. The CSE was asked why this danger to the democratic process was not raised in the report.

The CSE said it only deals with foreign threats. This prompted the question: If the CSE's focus is foreign interference, what is its approach to foreign political marketing companies which are hired by political parties to run their electoral campaigns? These foreign agencies extensively use voter databases and are known to carry out many of the dirty-ops cited in its threat assessment, such as using networks of remotely controlled computers ("botnets") to create an artificial image of certain politicians or certain policies having broad public support. The number of such corporations which go from country to country conducting election campaigns is very small. They base their manipulation of elections on state-of-the-art microtargeting techniques and specialize in things like "attack ads" and the promotion of disinformation.

The CSE answered that it is not concerned about foreigners who are hired by Canadian political parties.

The CSE was also asked to explain what it means when it links the likelihood of cyber attack in the 2019 Federal Election with "the spectrum of policies espoused by Canadian federal candidates in 2019." This question was deferred to a representative of the CSE who quickly stated that it was in no way intending to suggest that there should not be a broad diversity of opinions and positions presented during the federal election, even though this was not the question posed. The question remained unanswered.

In regards to what the CSE means when it says it must address not only the technological but also the "social element of the problem," and "deeply rooted human behaviours and social patterns," the representatives of the CSE stated it only means to point out that people have to make sure they use secure passwords, don't open potentially harmful links, and generally practice good cyber hygiene.

The CSE was also asked why it chose to define Canada in terms of its membership in NATO and the G7. Jones stated that since this was the policy of the current Canadian government, this is the government and policies that it must defend. If another government espouses different policies, then it is duty-bound to defend those.

Haut de


Information on What the Cyber Threat
Assessment Report Says

The Canadian Security Establishment (CSE) released its report "Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process" on June 16, 2017 in response to the request of the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

In explaining how it formed its assessment about cyber threats to the democratic process, the CSE states that its "key judgements" are based on classified information that cannot be divulged in this unclassified document. The intelligence comes from "a body of reporting from multiple sources" and "CSE's knowledge and expertise in foreign intelligence and cyber security." According to Scott Jones, Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Technology Security), the unclassified assessment is the only one in existence. "There is no classified version of this report," he stated.

The CSE report states that while there are a "wide range of cyber threats to Canadian political and electoral activities" at all levels of government, the report focuses primarily on the federal level and it does not provide "an exhaustive list of cyber capabilities or the way that adversaries could deploy them" because such a study would "take chapters to catalogue."

The assessment focuses on three aspects of the democratic process: "1) elections; 2) political parties and politicians; and 3) the media." It makes note that these three aspects of the democratic process are all protected by the Canadian Constitution, seeing fit to affirm that Canadians enjoy "the right to freedom of expression and belief -- including allowing citizens to freely engage, challenge and propagate ideas in public."

It goes on to say that "For democracy to work citizens need to trust that the process is fair, that politicians are not beholden to foreign or criminal interests, and that the media is not influenced by foreign or criminal interests attempting to sway voters and the outcome of the democratic process."

When it comes to the elections component of the democratic process, the CSE states that cyber attacks might "prevent voters from registering online, prevent citizens from voting, tamper with the election results, steal voter database(s)."

For political parties and politicians, their websites and email may come under attack. Adversaries may "conduct cyber espionage against a political target, embarrass or discredit a political target, blackmail a political target, steal voter or party member database."

In regards to both traditional and social media, the threat is manipulation "to influence the political discussion and/or reduce trust in the democratic process."

Who Are the Adversaries

The CSE describes "adversaries" as "any state, group, or individuals who have used or might use cyber capabilities to threaten or influence Canada's democratic process." "Strategic threats" are those where "adversaries intentionally set out to covertly influence a democratic process." "Incidental threats" are those where the outcome of an election is affected as "an unintended consequence." Incidental threats come from adversaries who "often simply cast a wide net, hoping to exploit an insecure network or database to earn some money or for the thrill of it."

The CSE report says that it has examined cyber attacks worldwide in the past ten years and has identified six types of adversaries who might do the same in Canada. These are:

"1. Nation-states ... motivated by economic, ideological, and/or geopolitical interests.

"2. Hacktivists ... motivated by ideological issues.

"3. Cyber criminals ... motivated by financial profit.

"4. Terrorist groups ... motivated by violent extremist ideologies.

"5. Political actors ... motivated by winning political power domestically.

"6. Thrill-seekers ... individuals seeking reputational or personal satisfaction from successful hacking."

Goal of the Adversaries

The CSE poses the question: "Why do nation-states use cyber capabilities to influence democratic processes of foreign countries?"

It identifies the immediate goal as reducing trust in the democratic process and affecting the popularity or vote counts of candidates. The mid-term goal is to "push policy in preferred directions; disrupt international alliances that pose a threat; weaken leaders that pose a threat." The strategic goal is to promote economic, geopolitical and ideological core interests.

Why Target Canada's Democratic Process?

There are many ways that Canada might be described in regards to its democratic process. In a section of its assessment entitled "Why Target Canada's Democratic Process," the CSE chose to describe Canada as "a G7 country, a NATO member, and an influential member of the international community." Consequently, the CSE states: "the choices that the Canadian federal government makes about military deployment, trade and investment agreements, diplomatic statements, foreign aid, or immigration are influential and impactful."

Government decisions, it says, affect "Canada's allies, and the core interests of other countries, foreign groups, and individuals." In addition, it notes that governments at all levels determine spending and make laws that "affect tens of millions of Canadians, and in some cases (e.g., regarding resource extraction) affect foreign interests as well."

Thus, the cyber threat comes from adversaries "attempting to further their core interests, which typically consist of national security, economic prosperity, and ideological goals." Furthermore, the CSE reports that nation-states may use cyber threats "as a show of force to deter other nation-states."

In the same vein, the CSE says that "adversaries" may try to "change Canadian election outcomes, policymakers' choices, governmental relations with foreign and domestic partners, and Canada's reputation around the world." In addition, they may seek to "delegitimize the concept of democracy and other values such as human rights and liberty, which may run counter to their own ideological views of the world."

Vulnerability of Canada's Democratic Process

The CSE report goes on to detail and assess the particular ways in which the electoral process, politicians and political parties, and the media might be targeted.

It assesses that the risks are highest where the voting process has been more computerized, and less so in cases where registration and voting are in paper-based systems. In all cases, the CSE states, "the aim is to embarrass election agencies and sow doubt amongst voters, while it can also lead to a delayed voting process and potential voter suppression." "It is also possible that the voter database -- potentially containing millions of personal identity records -- could be stolen, resulting in a massive breach of privacy," it warns.

The CSE assesses that because Canada's federal elections are largely paper-based, and Elections Canada has measures in place to mitigate cyber threats, "it is nearly certain that, regarding Canada's democratic process... political parties, and the media are more vulnerable than the elections themselves."

It warns that parties and politicians face the danger of activities that blackmail, embarrass or discredit them. "Adversaries may try to obtain damaging information to gain control over individuals and/or sway public opinion against them." The CSE says that this could have an impact not only in a given election, but over the long term "qualified candidates may decide that running for public office is simply not worth the potential negative effect on their personal life and reputation."

It also predicts that adversaries might steal or alter the party and voter databases either to fetch a price, or by sabotaging and rendering the data bases unuseable in an election. "If adversaries targeted a political party with this activity, it could impact the election campaign by denying the party a valuable tool used for voter outreach and engagement."

The threat to the media is described as one that would manipulate traditional and social media so as "to influence the political discussion and/or reduce trust in the democratic process."The CSE also cites the use of "troll farms" and "botnets" to spread propaganda and artificially create the image of a public consensus in support of a particular view. It notes, in this regard, that 22.4 million Canadians access Facebook daily and 51 per cent get their news from digital sources.

Other forms of cyber threats are outlined, such as Distributed Denial of Service to sabotage the ability of a political party to respond to legitimate requests. Other examples are defacing a political party's website, or "spear-phishing" to take control of a computer. Ransomware is also outlined as a threat to political parties and candidates.

The report provides two "case studies." One involves the swaying of public opinion against a candidate: "The adversary's plan is to influence voters' opinions by injecting disinformation into social media. In another case, cyber espionage is used against a candidate and the information provided to the candidate's rival."

CSE's Assessment of the Current and Future Threat
to the Canadian Democratic Process

Following its review of potential cyber threats and what has been seen internationally, the CSE comes to assessing the particular threat level to Canada. It notes that in the 2015 Federal Election, there was "low-sophistication cyber threat activity." This refers to the release by the hacking collective Anonymous of a Privy Council document about diplomatic centres in Britain being redeveloped and government cost overruns. The CSE does not refer to the 2011 Robocall Scandal. In that instance, the Conservative Party's Constituency Information Management System was used to identify non-Conservative voters and target them with robocalls directing them to the wrong polling stations.

In this regard, even though the CSE claims to only be concerned with foreign cyber attacks, it does have an assessment of the potential for domestically perpetrated cyber attacks. It states that experience outside of Canada shows that "corrupt political actors use cyber capabilities to influence their domestic democratic processes." It predicts that given "the prevalence of cyber capabilities and the advantages they confer, it is likely that political actors outside Canada will increasingly avail themselves of these capabilities to shape their political fortune." The CSE concludes that since Canada "ranks low in corruption," domestically perpetrated cyber attacks are "far more likely to be seen elsewhere."

The CSE says that while "nation-states are constantly deploying cyber capabilities to gain access to Government of Canada networks and the communications of federal government officials," it has not yet observed "nation-states using cyber capabilities with the purpose of influencing the Canadian democratic process during an election." For the future, it states: "We assess that whether this remains the case in 2019 will depend on how nation-state adversaries perceive Canada's foreign and domestic policies over the next two years, and on the spectrum of policies espoused by Canadian federal candidates in 2019."

Finally, the CSE states that while cyber threats can be mitigated by technical security methods and best practices, "cyber threats and influence operations are often successful because they take advantage of deeply rooted human behaviours and social patterns, and are not merely technological vulnerabilities.... Defending Canada's democratic process against cyber threats and related influence operations requires addressing both the technical and social elements of the problem."

Haut de



Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca