TORONTO- The Central and Eastern European Council of Canada (CEEC), representing the interests of 4.5 million Canadians of Central and Eastern European heritage, supports the collective decision made by all federal political parties to broaden the scope of the forthcoming public inquiry into foreign interference in Canada’s federal electoral processes and its democratic institutions to include Russian interference in Canada’s democratic processes.
We thank the Government of Canada for its specific directive to the inquiry to scrutinize and evaluate our government’s capacity to support and safeguard members of our diaspora communities, who, due to their unique circumstances, are particularly vulnerable and have fallen victim to foreign interference.
Central and Eastern European communities, along with dedicated activists within our ranks, have found themselves recurrently targeted by Russian information and influence operations ever since their arrival in Canada as refugees during the post-World War II era. These calculated assaults encompass disinformation campaigns aimed at inciting hatred against our communities, our activists, and the nations from which our families originally hailed.
As a consequence, during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our communities have faced imminent threats and an alarming surge in violent incidents, regrettably overlooked by the Canadian government.
We urge the government and Commissioner to invite the victims of foreign transnational intimidation and repression to testify at the hearing, including representatives and activists from the Central and Eastern European communities and those from the Hong Kong, Iranian, Uyghur and Tibetan communities.
CEEC President Marcus Kolga declared, “We must not permit authoritarian regimes such as those in Russia, China, and Iran to aggressively propagate hate towards Canadian diaspora communities or employ intimidation to silence them. Through this inquiry, we hope that the government will unequivocally pinpoint vulnerabilities and actively strive to ensure the safety of our communities, not only from foreign regimes but also from their enablers and collaborators in Canada.”
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