What have we actually learned about foreign election interference?

In today’s The Big Story podcast, over the past few weeks, there have been hundreds of questions, plenty of notes and briefings, dozens of hours of testimony (including from the Prime Minister himself) and no shortage of references to classified intelligence — all this during an inquiry aiming to help the foreign interference commission, and the Canadian public, learn exactly who knew what about efforts to impact Canada’s elections, and what they did about it.

If that sounds like a mouthful, well, it is. The inquiry is attempting to balance the need for transparency with the imperative to protect Canada’s intelligence operations, and it has often left questions half-answered, or responses less than declarative. 

Laura Stephenson is a professor of political science at Western University and the co-director of The Consortium on Electoral Democracy. “The electoral outcome wasn’t affected is one thing, but we need to be able to trust that [the electoral process is] a fundamental part of democracy — and for any of these intelligence agencies to share their information or for their information once shared to be made public,” said Stephenson. 

So, on the final day of this phase of the inquiry: What have we actually learned, for certain, about efforts to interfere in Canada’s elections?

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