What’s This Nonsense About “Electoral Interference”?

There has been a lot of noise lately about alleged Chinese “interference” in recent Canadian elections, but the suggestion that anything has somehow compromised the actual vote counts is just a load of crap.

Of course any kind of covert support for an electoral candidate is to be decried. That’s why we have campaign contribution limits and disclosure laws. But they get violated and/or circumvented all the time and the prime offenders are not foreign governments. And even when it does happen it is not interference in the electoral process itself.

Neither bribery nor coercion of potential or actual elected officials is “electoral interference”. Nor are attempts to influence public opinion in favour of policies that favour some particular group, entity, or nation.

The former is rightly illegal but does not affect the outcome of an election; and the latter may affect the outcome but is entirely within the scope of how we expect to make our collective decisions.

I have no more objection to having the PRC try to persuade me to support its interests than I do to the similar efforts of Shell Oil and Exxon. But if a nation blackmails its diaspora, or a corporation its employees, into support of a political position, then I will object to both with equal fervour without pretending that either is somehow more deserving than the other of being labelled as “electoral interference”

Source: China’s Big Canadian Mistake | The Tyee

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