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Not much Elections Canada can do about fake news spread about candidates


OTTAWA — Canada’s chief electoral officer says there’s not much his independent agency can do to counter fake news circulated about a candidate in the midst of an election.

Stephane Perrault says if the fake information appears in an advertisement, there are some “minimal rules” that cover impersonation of parties, candidates or Elections Canada officials and some forms of disinformation.

But a lie spread through social media is not something that can be regulated by Elections Canada.

In an appearance Thursday before a House of Commons committee, Perrault refused to comment specifically on an ad that falsely suggests NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is in the midst of a byelection contest in British Columbia’s Burnaby South, owns a luxurious mansion.

The NDP has asked the commissioner of elections, Yves Cote, to investigate that matter.

But in general, Perrault says there’s no “silver bullet” to eliminate lies spread about a candidate or party; it requires a “whole of society” response, including government, political parties and social media platforms.

The Canadian Press

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