Legault says there is no foreign interference in Quebec elections, amid China allegations

There was no foreign interference in last October’s provincial election in Quebec, Premier Francois Legault has said.

Legault’s comments Thursday were in reaction to media reports — citing unnamed security sources and leaked intelligence — alleging China interfered in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.

Quebec’s premier told reporters he was unaware of any foreign interference in the fall provincial campaign, which brought his party to power with a second consecutive majority term.

“I have no indication that there was any interference,” Legault said.

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Legault, however, did not say where he got this information or if his government had done any checks.

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The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing classified CSIS files, recently reported that China had worked to help secure a victory for the liberal minority in the 2021 general election as well as defeating conservative politicians seen as hostile to Beijing.

Federal Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and NDP want a public inquiry into allegations of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic system – despite assurances from the country’s security agencies that China’s attempted interference has not affected electoral integrity.

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Elections Quebec, the independent body that oversees the electoral process in the province, also said there were no indications of foreign interference.

“Nothing leads us to believe that there was illegal political financing from abroad during the last provincial elections,” said Julie St-Arnaud Drolet, spokesperson for Elections Quebec, in an interview.

St-Arnaud Drolet was unable to say whether complaints had been filed in connection with a potential threat or with the interference of a foreign power. However, she said there were no identified intrusions into the agency’s computer systems or any indication of a concerted effort by a foreign state to discredit or undermine Quebec’s electoral process.

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“In light of the information currently available, there is no evidence that there was a structured campaign of disinformation about the electoral process from abroad during the last election,” said St-Arnaud Drolet.

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